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Full text of "The infidel's text-book [microform], being the substance of thirteen lectures on the Bible"

MASTER 
NEGA TIVE 

NO. 93-81227 




MICROFILMED 1993 
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AUTHOR: 



COOPER, ROBERT 



TITLE: 



THE INFIDEL'S 
TEXT-BOOK 

PLACE: 

BOSTON 

DATE: 

1881 



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PRESERVATION DEPARTMENT 



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Cooper, Robert. 

Tlic iiifidi^rs text-book, beiiifr tlie substJiiicc of fliirtecn lec- 
tures oil the r>ibl('. \\\ J^obert Cooper ..iStll^. American, 
rei)nblisbetl from the London ed. ]'>oston, J. P. IMendmn, 

1^5.^7 1881. 

iv, ucr, p. isr"-. 



1. r.Il)lL — Criticism, interpretation, etc. 2. Free thouglit. i. Title. 



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MnNUFfiCTURED TO fillM STfiNDfiRDS 
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THE 



INFIDEL-S TEXT-BOOK, 



BEING TUE SUBSTANCE OF 



TIIIHTEEN LECTURES 



OX 



THE BIBLE. 



BY ROBEUT COOPER 






BlXrn AMERICAN, 
REPUBLISHED FR031 THE LONDON EDITION. 



.J^ 



B S T .\ : 
I^UBLISIIED BY J. P. MENDUM, 

At tub Office of tite Boston Investigatou. 



I 



PHEFACE. 



5L1I.0I 

cm 



The Author of the present publication has long 
been of opinion, that a small work, written in a 
plain and dispassionate style, arranged with order 
and perspicuity, and published at a cheap rate, con- 
taining a summary of the best arguments of the 
Infidel world against the divinity of the Jewish and 
Christian Scriptures, was a dcsidenituni in heterodox 
literature that ought to be supplied as speedily as 
possible. With the view of promoting so desirable 
a consummation, the following Lectures are respect- 
fully submitted to the consideration of the inquiring 
public. 

Many Infidel works have appeared, which are of 
so desultory a character, or devoted only to some 
particular portion of the question, that they have 
been, of themselves^ as a hook of ready reference^ 
of little general use to the " unbeliever." If he 
was anxious to furnish a Christian opponent with 
a full refutation of the subject, he has had to pur- 
chase a variety of works, one of which only, in 
many instances, would be as expensive as the pro- 
duction now offered to him. 






IV 



PREFACE. 



The ''Infidel's Text-Book," it is hoped, will prove 
as useful a pocket companion to the sceptical com- 
munity as its predecessor — " The Holy Scriptures 
Analyzed.'' 

The following are the points discussed, which, it 
is conceived, embrace the whole argument : — 

Jjcciures. Page. 

I. — The History of the Old Testament. 1 

II. — The History of the New Testament. 21 
III. — The Character of the Christian Fathers 

and Apostles. 39 

TV. — External Evidence. 61 

V. — External Evidence. 79 

YI. — The Geiuiineness of the Scriptures. 97 

YII. — Prophecy. 117 

Vni. — Miracles. 135 

IX. — The Consistency of the Bible. 155 

X. — The Morality of tne Bible. 177 

XL — The Philosophy of the Bible. 199 

XII. — Influence of the Bible on Society. 221 

XHl. — Morality without the Bible. 243 

The reader will please to observe, that a separate 
liccture is devoted to each of the above subjects, m 
the order in which they are stated. This arrange- 
ment, it is presumed, will be a convenience, and 
contribute to the general usefulness of the work. 

London, (Eu^.) Jauuaiy, 1846. 



BIBLICAL LECTURES. 



LECTURE FIRST. 



HISTORY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. 

Friends — 

This evening we purpose to enter upon an inquiry 
which demands the most serious attention of every 
unflinching and uncompromising friend to truth and 
enlightenment. To those who are solicitous that the 
mental existence of man should no longer be one of 
ignorance, imbecility, and delusion, but one ennobling 
scene ol intelligence, reason, and free inquiry,— a 
scene m which his aspiration after the true and' the 
good, would remain unchecked by the trammels of 
priestly arrogance, and vulgar intolerance,— an in- 
vestigation hkc the present will appear one of pecu- 
liar interest. 

We live in an age when it has become imperative 
upon every honest and independent man to declare 
fearlessly and unreservedly, the genuine sentiments 
of his mind upon eve?y question which involves the 
freedom and progression of humanity. Too long have 
the masses been held in leading-strings. Too long 
have they thought by pro.zy. It is now time to think 
tor themselves, examine for themselves, speak for 
themselves. While they continue to admire the play- 
things of their mental babyhood, and refuse to exert 
the energy and independence which become their 

1 



11 



f 



2 



HISTORY OF 



maturity, error and imposture will continue to delude 
and enslave them. Priestcraft will still crush, in its 
brutal grasp, the best efforts of the bold and tlie true. 
I am of opinion, that so long as this great moral nui- 
sance— y^/ve^'/cra//— is tolerated, all endeavors to se- 
cure the permanent independence of the millions will 
be frustrated. 

This it is, that, in all ages, and all countries, but 
more especially in Christendom, has blasted the hopes 
and labors of the patriot, the philosopher, and the 
philantliropist ! It is, therefore, we enter upon the 
subject before us, believing that if the faith of the 
people m the Divinity of this '' tale of a tub " is once 
exploded, the grand corner-stone of the priestly sys- 
tem IS shaken, and the whole fabric must speedily be 
razed to the ground. Once deprive the priest of his 
magic wand— the Bible— and his "occupation will 
be gone." 

In this, our first discourse, I purpose to commence 
a compendious history of the ''Holy Bible," from the 
remotest date on record, to the present period; and 
irom that history to demonstrate the moral impossibil- 
^^yj^^ such a production being a revelation from Deity. 

We may rationally presume, at the outset, that any 
work emanating from a God, would have been imme- 
diately and generally known, and produced at once 
such an impression as to occasion instant and univer- 
sal conviction. '']f God had spoken, the universe 
must have been convinced." So far, however, from 
this being the fact, the early history of the Bible is 
shrouded m almost impenetrable darkness. It was 
entirely unknown to any of the human race, except 
a contemptibly small section, the Jews, until so late 
a date as the year 287 B. C. Neither Hesiod, Homer 
Herodotus, nor any of the immortal minds of antiquity, 
make any allusion to it. The great Phoenician histo- 
rum, {^ANCHONIATHo, though quoted by the Christian 
latlier, Euscbius, makes no reference to the Bible, or 
even to the Jews as a nation. The celebrated Wyt- 






i 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. d 

TKMBACH, in his famous reply to Josephus, (Opuscula. 
vol. 2, p. 41G,) shows that the Jews only came into 
notice in Greece after the time of Alexander the Great, 
and that the historical monuments preceding that pe- 
riod, tnakc not the slightest mention of any Jewish 
transaction. In sliort, he triumphantly establishes the 
important fact, so anxiously withheld by the Christian 
priests, — that the Jews were nnknown to the world as 
a nation^ until they were subjected by the Hotnans. — 
Yet are we to believe that a book like the Bible, al- 
leged to be '^ divinely inspired," and so ^^ essential ^^ 
to the eternal welfare of humanity at large, remained 
so long in utter obscurity ! 

Professor Cooper, of Atnei^ica^ observes, — " No 
authentic historian of ancient times, Josephus except- 
ed, has ever mentioned the Jews as an indo pend- 
ent nation or state, or a^ being in possession of Pal- 
estine, or any part of great Syria, before, or in the 
time of Alexander. As a nation, they appear to have 
been entirely unknown to Herodotus, and all other 
(jJreek historians. What had become of them when 
Xenophon wrote of the Eastern Nations? which was 
only 150 years after their alleged return from Baby- 
lon. He mentions the Syrians of Palestine as under 
the Persian government, but not a irord about the Jcios. 
Herodotus mentions the invasions of the Scythians, 
through Syria, even to the borders of Egypt ; but ac- 
knowledges no Jews or Israelites. In the fragments 
which remain of Sanchoniatho, Ctesias, Borosus, and 
Manetho, they are not noticed, even as a petty or sub- 
ject state ; so that we have the fullest negative evi- 
dence, that in the times of these historians, no part of 
Syria was a Jewish country. Diodorus, in detailing 
the events in that country, the Siege of Tyre, (fee, 
during Alexander's conquests, says not a word of tlie 
Jews forming a state or colony, or of their boasted 
city of Jerusalem; and he is equally silent as to then 
existence as a nation, during the time of Alexandfi" ■; 
immediate successors ; nor have we any account ol 



HISTORY OF 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



5 



them, deserving of credit, until the time of Antiocluis 
the 4th, under whom they hved, and he was suhjcct 
to the Ronuuis. If the territory of Judea was given 
to them by the King of Babylon only about 200 years 
before the Macedonian conqueror went to the east, 
why did not he and his historians find tliciti there ? — 
The plain and simple truth is, the Jews never formed 
an independent state ; and that part of Syria called 
Palestine, was, in all known ages, subject either to the 
Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, 
or Romans, (according to the tide of conquest) as it 
now is to the Turks.'" 

But who were these Jews wno alone enjoyea the 
]frecioiis privilege of the " Holy Word ] " A great — 
a philanthropic — a noble peopled No; but on the 
contrary, they were held in sovereign contempt by 
cvx'ry nation wlio became acciuainted with them. — 
Ai'OLi.oNius, as quoted by Josephus himself, the histo- 
rian of the Jews, in liis work against Apion, said of 
them, " they (the Jews) were the most trifling of all 
the barbarians^ and that they were the only people 
irho h(td never found out anijthing^ useful for life.'^ — 
Dr. Burnet, m his Arehaloifiai Philosophia^ admits 
that ''they were of a gross and sluggish nature — of a 
dull and heavy disposition — bcret't of humanity — a 
vile company of men — an assembly of slaves, brought 
out of Egyptian prisons, who understood no art but 
that of making- bricks I " Josephus himself, even 
admits tliat his countrymen were so illiterate as never 
to have written anything, or to have held intercousc 
with their learned neighbors. Indeed, no people of 
antiquity were more ignorant, credulous, intolerant, 
and wretched, than the Jews. While the ancient 
Chaldeans, Arabians, Egyptians. Grecians, and Ro- 
mans, produced their men of science and erudition, 
the Jews added nothing to the glorious pyramid of 
human knowledge. And yet we are to believe, even 
in the nineteenth century, that a being said to be " all- 
wise," and " all-good," selected such a race as his 



4 

1 












" chosen people," — the people who were solehj and 
s])ccialhj entrusted with his '• divine word." What a 
mockery ! 

I hasten, however, to show that the Jews tJiemselves, 
even their own priests^ were ignorant of the " divine 
law," for many centuries subsequent to the time when 
ilm is supposed to have been written. The first time 
any reference is made to any work answerhig the 
Jewish Text-book, was in the year 2S7, B. C, when 
a priest named Ililkiah^ is stated to have found " a 
hook of the law." The story is told in the 31ih c. of 
the 2nd book of Chronicles, vs. 14, 15, IS, 19, and 
30. — " And when they brought out the money that 
was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah, the 
priest, FOUND a book of the law of the Lord, given by 
Moses. And Ililkiah answered and said unto Sha- 
phaii, the Scribe, I have found the book of the law^ in 
the house of the Lord. And Ililkiah delivered the book 
to Shaphan. Then Shaphan, the Scribe, told the 
King, saying, Hilkiah, the priest, hath given me a 
book ; and Shaphan read it before the King. And it 
came to pass when the ICing had heard the words of 
the law, that he rent his clothes. And the King went 
up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Ju- 
dah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, 
and the Levites, and all the people, great and small. 
And he read in their ears all the words of the book 
of the covenant that was found in the house of the 
Lord." There are two circumstances connected with 
this story upon which I feel it necessary to remark. — 
The first is, that it appears exceedingly strange if the 
''book of the law " existed prior to that date (628), 
that the King, the scribes, the people, and, above all, 
the priests^ should have displayed such gross ignor- 
ance of its contents, as to express the utmost astonish- 
ment upon its being read to them. It is evident if the 
Jews were acquainted with the "law of the Lord" 
before Hilkiah read it to them, they would not have 
manifested such surprise. And if this was the first 

I* 



HISTORY OF 



time the Jewish people heard the law^ it is clear the 
whole of the direct external testimony in favor of the 
authenticity and genuineness of the Old Testament^ {at 
leasts so far as concerns the Pentateuch) rests solely 
upon the ipse dlxit of the old priest Hilkiah ; and 
those who have read the Bible, must he familiar irith 
the " honorable " character of the Jeirish priesthood, 
and will, therefore, knoic what confidence to place in 
the testimony of such a man. They will naturally 
ask, ^vhat authority have we that Hilkiah did not 
write this book himself? or if he really found it, that 
he did not make what alterations he pleased ? From 
the cunning with which he acted on this occasion — his 
employing a scribe to make it known to the youthful 
King, makes it very probable he was really the author 
of the book he pretended to have found, and took this 
opportunity of imposing it upon the mind of the young 
King. At all events, it is manifest there was only one 
copy then in possession, of the whole Jewish nation, 
and they were indebted for this copy to <x priest who 
offered no evidence of the truth of his statement, but 
his own word ! Presuming, however, that the Israel- 
ites were familiar with the "book of the Lord" ante- 
rior to its being found by the priest Hilkiah, is it not 
a matter of amazement such a precious book should 
have been lost at all, much less for so many genera- 
tions ^ 

There are some circumstances, however, whicli 
lead us to the opinion that the story of Hilkiah find- 
ing the book, and its being read to the people, is a 
mere fiction. 1 will appeal to every person in the 
slightest degree acquainted with language, whether 
any man could read olf, at once, a book written 800 
years before] The phraseology would necessarily be 
so altered by time, as to render it comparatively un- 
intelligible at the first glance. It is so with the Latin, 
French, English, and all other languages. Suppose 
any person of the present day was to produce a book 
of laws written in the time of King Ethelbert, of Eng- 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. ' 

land, and promulgated by his authority, would not 
the learned world require a full and particular account 
of die book, and the discovery of it, and undeniable 
evidence of its authenticity before they would believe 
it 1 Here is a book claiming to be the autograph of 
the great national lavvrgivcr of the Jews — the only 
code of laws, religious and civil,— the only authority 
for the claims of the priests— a book that ought to 
have been periodically read to the people, by the 
clergy appointed so to do— that ought to have been 
familiar to their men of learning and rank— produced 
for i\\Q first time, after an interval of 800 years, by a 
man who gives no other account of it than — I found 
it ! Why, just the same reason could be alleged in 
favor of the divhiityof Joe Smith's Bible— the "Book 
of the Mormons." He pretends to have fomid it. 

Professou Cooper, in his admirable liCtter on the 
Pentateuch, very judiciously observes, when referring 
to the account of Hilkiah finding this book — " Now, 
of this book, no account whatever is given but this— 
Hilkiah has found a book. We are not informed 
where it was hidden and found, on what materials it 
was written, in what dialect or character, in what 
kind of preservation it was. whether it was an auto- 
grapli of the Jewish lawgiver, or some recent copy, 
what its contents were, and what time it took to read 
it • we are furnished with no information to authen- 
ticate it, nor is any inquiry made concerning it. — 
Shaphan reads it off as if it were written recently. 
All this is done under the very suspicious circumstan- 
ces of the workmen behig bribed by having no reck- 
oning made with them as to what they had earned, 
but the money was delivered to diem in a lump, — 2 
Chron. c. xxxiv. v. 17— without check or inquiry, or 
any questions asked. It appears, also, from Josiah's 
remarks, that neither the Jews of that day, nor their 
forefathers, knew anything about the law, or used 
any observance of it. It appears, from the whole 
account, Hilkiah had enlisted his pupil, the young 



HISTORY OF 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



king, in support of the Jewish priests, against the 
priests of Baal ; and as the Jews knew nothing of the 
law of Moses, something of the kind was necessary 
as a system of religions ceremonies. He composed a 
book of the law, and pretended to have found it in the 
temple, after bribing his workmen to silence and se- 
crecy. No wonder, under these circumstances, that 
when the book was produced, no inquiry was made, 
and no question asked. The whole is a concerted 
pk^n, which the prophetess Hulda is brought over to 
authenticate. I say no impartial reader can put any 
other construction on this manifest contrivance, as 
described in the books of Kings and Chronicles.— 
This account amounts to full proof that the book of 
the law, whatever it was, rests upon the credit, not 
of Moses, but Hilkiah. It is Hilkiah's book of the 
law, according to the narration as it stands, for it is 
not attempted to trace it backwards to any one else.'' 
But this is not the only time the ''Holy Writings," 
as we are taught to call them, were missing. Wc'^arc 
told by Jewish writers themselves, that "they were 
completely lost during the Babylonish captivity (Avhich 
was only a few years after they were said to be found 
by Hilkiah), and were not restored until the priest 
Ezra, was inspired to re-write them, some -100 years 
before the Christian era. So that we must believe 
this invaluable book was first lost for ei^ht centuries, 
then read for a short time, and subsequently lost again' 
never to he recovered. How the •' chosen people " prized 
their Godly treasure ! The manner in which Ezra 
performed the onerous task of re-writing the Jewish 
Text-book, is detailed in 4th book of Esdras— a book 
deemed authentic by the Greek church. He dictated 
the Holy books during forty successive days and 
nights, to five scribes, who were continually writing. 
Thus, then, do the authenticity and £fe?ininencss of 
the Old Testament, rest upon the authority of that one 
priest, who might dictate to the scribes what he pleased 
—omit or add, or alter just what he felt disposed,— 



\ 



k 

i 

■ I- 



That he would have every opportunity of indulging 
in these liberties, is proved by the fact, as stated by 
Brown, in his Dictionary of the Bible, Bishop Marsh 
in his "Lectures," and in the 8th c. of Mchemiah, 
that the Jews lost their oinn language during the Ba- 
bylonish captivity, and spoke the Chaldaic tongue, the 
priests being obliged to expound the Holy books to the 
people in that language, thereby affording them every 
facility to introduce what matter they thought fit, the 
multitude being quite incompetent to detect any inter- 
polation, alteration, or omission. It is now admitted 
by most Christian writers of eminence, that the com- 
pilation made by Ezra, is the authority upon which 
we have to depend for our translations. Nay, the 
Cliristian father Ireneus, distinctly declared that the 
books of the Old Testament, were not in existence 
imtil ^'- {hey were fabricated seventy years after the 
Babylonish captivity, by Esdras," (or Ezra.) 

This is a fact of some moment, and one with which 
the people are generally unacquainted. Hence, the 
vulgar belief that the Bible is a work of extraordinary 
antiquity — that it was the first, and, therefore, accord- 
ing to the logic of the crowd, the best that was ever 
written. There were many composers who flourished 
before Ezra — the real autlior of the Old Testament. — 
He lived only 400 years B. C, while Orphens flour- 
ished 900 B. C. Uesiod and Homer, 800, Zoroaster 
and Belus, 700, Dycurgus, Num^, Thales, Pittacns, 
and Bias, 600, Pythagoras, j^sop, Solon, and many 
of the earlier Grecian philosophers, 500 B. C. I shall 
not remark upon the ancient books of the Chaldeans, 
Arabians, Hindoos, and Chinese, as I shall have oc- 
casion to refer to them in a subsequent lecture, or it 
could be easily shown that the pretended sacred writ- 
ings of these nations, are of much greater antiquity 
than our own. It is necessary I should here inform 
you, that there was no proper canon or collection of 
the writings of the Old Testament, until the time of 
the synagogue under the Maccabees, which was only 



10 



HISTORY OF 



about 200 years before the appearance of Christ ! l^p 
to this period, the " Holy books " were scattered and 
liable to be altered or amended just as priests might 
determine I It is generally supposed by the " vulgar" 
that the Bible always retained its present form, but 
such an idea is manifestly erroneous. 

It is a matter of considerable importance, at this 
stage of our inquiry, to ascertain the character of the 
men who drew up this canon or authorized collection 
of the Jewish writings. We must know whether 
they were insjnrcd or not. If they were destitute of 
the " Holy Spirit " it is possible, according to the logic 
ot the pious, they may have made mistakes, and very 
serious ones, too, and thereby mislead the Jewish and 
Christian world. What says Le Clerc^ upon this vi- 
tal point? — a first-rate Christian writer. In his Dis- 
quisition upon Inspiration, he remarks: '' It may be 
said that the books in the Jewish canon, ought to be 
acknowledged as divinely inspired, rather than the 
Apocrypha that never were in it. I answer first, that 
no clear reason is brought to convince us that those 
who made the canon or catalogue of their books, were 
infallible, or had any inspiration whereby to distin- 
guish inspired books from those which were not in- 
spired." Such are the opinions of a writer much 
admired by Christians —opinions which go to prove 
that we have only the testimony of fallible human 
beings, and those of the worst class — the most fallible 
— ignorant and cunning priests, in favor of the genu- 
ineness of our present canon of the Old Testament. 

Presuming, however, that these men were inspired, 
I find, in reference to the same Synagogue, several 
very extraordinary circumstances which tend, in no 
slight degree, to invalidate the authenticity and gen-, 
uineness of the Old Testament. We arc told in the 
Talmud, that this memorable assembly of priests 
were about to reject the book of Proverbs, (one of the 
very fe\\r decent books that are to be found in the Old 
'Testament,) the prophecies of Ezekiel and Ecclesias- 



I 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



11 



H 



tes, because those writings were contradictory to the 
law of God, but a certain Rabbi, having undertaken 
to reconcile them, they were preserved as "canoni- 
cal." Here, the three books, Proverbs, Ezekiel, and 
Ecclesiastes, are confessedly presented to us as altered 
by an impudent Jewish Rabbi ! Notwithstanding, 
writings thus mutilated, to suit the purposes of priest- 
craft, are declared to be the word of God ! Oh ! 
orthodoxy, when wilt thou blush for thy blind and 
shameless credulity 7 

But this is not all. Tlie Samaritan Jews, and the 
ancient Sadducees, rejected all but the Pentateuch.— 
There was also about this period, a prodigious num- 
ber o{ forged books of Esdras, Daniel, and other 
prophets in circulation. And what authority have 
we that our present copies are not taken from the 
spurious] From these facts, it is obvious, the Jeivs 
themselves differed as to which of the present canon 
were genuine, and which were not. And this differ- 
ence of opinion has existed down to our time, both 
amongst the most learned Jews and Christians. The 
Apocrypha, for instance, is pronounced genuine by 
the Catholics, but utterly rejected by the Protestants. 
The Canticles have been denounced as forgeries by 
the learned Dr. Whiston, and the books of Jonah and 
Daniel have been repudiated by Doctors Aitkin and 
Eichorn, as mere " legends and romances." Ten 
whole books are rejected by the Swcdenborgians ; and 
the celebrated Belsham, in his Evidences, p. 117, 
though supporting Christianity, positively declares 
that "of the law of Moses, that which is genuiiie^ 
bears but a small proportion to that which is spiiri- 
ous ! " And we arc denounced as "dangerous men," 
because we will not believe that to be divine, upon 
which such contradictory opinions exist, amongst the 
very people who profess to acknowledg it ! 

I'must now acquaint you with a very curious fact 
connected with this portion of our inquiry, as attested 
upon the authority ot a distinguished Christian pro- 



t 






12 



HISTORY OF 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



13 



fessor. Granting for a moment that all the present 
books of the Scripture canon are genuine, I neverthe- 
less hold that the Christian world are not in posses- 
sion of the real '' Word of God," inasmuch as many 
of the " sacred" books have been absolutely lost, and 
never transmitted to posterity. In confirmation of an 
opinion so bold, and, apparently, unwarrantable, I 
shall first quote from Du Pin. He was Professor of 
Philosophy, at Paris, and author of " a complete his- 
tory of the canon, and writers of the books of the Old 
and New Testaments." From vol. 1, c. 1, sect. 8, 
and page 26, of that memorable work, I take the fol- 
lowing passage: — "St. Eucharius says, it is evident 
why we have not remaining the books which the 
Holy Scriptures approve of, because Judea, having 
been ravaged by the Chaldeans, and the ancient bib- 
liotheque being burnt, there remaining only a small 
number of the l)ooks which at present make np the 
Holy Scriptures, and which were collected and re-es- 
tablished by the care of Ezra." Here, then, we are 
informed that before the ravages of the Chaldeans, 
and tho burning of the ancient bibliothcque, the 
" Word o{ God '' consisted of a great number of 
books, but in consequence of that event, many of 
them were destroyed, and those wc have remaining, 
arc but a sJiiall portion of what once constituted the 
" Holy l]ook ! " 

But I find that the Jews themselves actually kuunt 
several of the holy books, and lost others. Simon, in 
his " Critical History of the Version of the New I'es- 
tament," quotes St. Chrysostom as follows : — '^ Tlie 
Jews having lx3en at sometimes careless, and at others 
profane, they suffered some of the sacred books to be 
lost through their carelessness, and have burnt and 
destroyed others." We are here deliberately told, by 
Christian writers of great repute, that the Jews were 
so grossly negligent about the " Word of God " that 
much of it is completely lost, and other portions they 
actually burnt and destroyed ! ! Burnt the Bible !! ! 



What outrageous sacrilege! Had it been Ltfidels 
who had burnt the Bible, what an affecting story we 
should have iieard from the '^ gentleman of the cloth ! 
All the ladies in Christendom would have been ni 

tears ! , • , i • *. 

There is something connected with this matter 
which is not a little singular, and, to the true Chris- 
tian, not a little alarming. We are assured that a 
belief in the Bible is essential to our eternal salvation. 
Now we have not the " Word of God," but only a 
portion, and that, according to St. Eucharius, a very 
small i)ortion. " And therefore," says an able writer, 
" calculating npon our salvation according to the fiuan- 
tity of the Word of God, we shall be a quarter saved, 
and three ([uarters damned'' 

As a further corroboration of the preceding tacts, 1 
will give you a brief quotation from Dr. Campbeirs 
Introduction to the Gospel according to St. Matthew, 
who not only admits that some ol the "inspired 
books have been entirely lost, but even mentions some 
of them by name. "The Book of the \\ ars of the 
Lord " says he, " the Book of Jashcr, the Book of 
Nathan the Prophet, the Book of Gad the Seer, and 
several others, are referred to in the Old Testament, 
manifestly as of equal authority with the book which 
refers to them, and as fuller in point ot information. 
Yet, these are, to all appcaranre, ihuecovek.^bia' lost. 

1 liave now given vou a brief history ot the O d 
Testament, up to the time of its traiislatioii into Greek, 
which event occurred in the year 2t>t , B. C. Bclore 
this date, the " book of life " had been confined M tha 
Jews ahne. The individual so fortunate m abohsliing 
this pious "monopoly," was an Egyptian King, 1 tol- 
emy Philadelphus. He wrote to the High Priest at 
Jerusalem, requesting to be furnished with a copy 
and also seventy-two learned men who undersloua 
the Hebrew and ihrrk langun«es, for the |.urix).M^ ol 
translating it into Greek. Hi« request was concedod ; 
and the translation then made wub culled the bcptua- 
2 



14 



HISTORY OF 



^ 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



15 



gmt, from which, principally, the rest of our transla- 
tions have been taken. It becomes a matter, therefore, 
of great moment, to ascertain whether this version 
was correct, for if not, presuming the Hebrew text 
was genuine, (but which 1 Jiave shown was not the 
ease) we cannot be certain that we possess, in our 
modern copies, the true " Will of God." Now, I dis- 
tinctly affirm, and upon. Christmfi authority too, that 
the Septuagint is not a correct translation. 

Before I establish this point, I will give you an idea 
of the nature of the Hebrew language, and the great 
difficulty experienced in translating it. Simon, in his 
^Critical History," alluding to the meaning of the 
Hebrew words, remarks,—" It is unquestio?iabte that 
the greater part of them are equivocal, and their sig- 
nification iitterli/ uncertain. Even the most learned 
Jews doubt almost evcrythin^^ about their proper mean^ 
mg." Bishop Marsh, in his celebrated " Lectures," 
No 14, declares that—" The Old Testament is the 
07ily work which remains in the ancient Hebrew, nor 
have we anything like a lexicon, or glossary, com- 
posed while It was yet a living language." 

One of the most learned Hebraists has declared tliat 
no two translators would agree in rendering any verb 
from the Hebrew. Godfrey Higeins says—" I am 
quite certain that I shall be able to^show— to prove- 
that every letter of the Hebrew language has four, 
and probably >x' meanings." What an accommodat- 
ing language for the priests, truly ! 

Le Clerc affirms, in his " Sentim," p. 156, that— 
" Ihe learned merely guess at the sense of the Old 
Testament in an infinity of places, which produces a 
pi^odigious number of discordant interpretations."— 
The Christian Father, St. Jerome, too, in his Com- 
mentary on the 40th chap, of Ezekiel, states, that 
— " When we translate the Hebrew into Latin, we 
are sometimes guided by conjecture .' " As an instance 
of the guessing abilities of our learned interpreters, 
I may refer you to that chapter in Genesis giving an 



account of Noah's ark. With respect to the materials 
of which the ark is said to have been composed, our 
modern version interprets it to be gopher wood. On- 
kilhos translates it as being made oi cedar ; Castellus, 
of Juniper wood. The Arabic commentators^ declare 
it to be box wood; the Persian, pine wood. The cele- 
brated Bochart declares it was ebony ; and Dr. Geddes 
affirms it to be ivicker tvork ; while the distinguished 
Christian, Dawson, stoutly contends that it was made 
of bullrushcs daubed with slime ! Such are the sin- 
gular difficulties attending the translation of the He- 
brew text, and the contradictory interpretations given 
to the same words by diffi^rent writers. It is obvious, 
from these facts, that no confidence can be placed in 
any translation from the Hebrew tongue. 

While upon this subject it is necessary I should re- 
mind you that, up to the 5th Century, the Hebrew 
language was utterly destitute of any method of punc- 
tuation, as well as void of voivels. It was a mere 
mass of words without order or system. To n seer tain 
the true signification was next to impossible. Dr. Du 
Pin observes : — "The Hebrew alphabet is composed 
of twenty-two letters, as well as those of the Samari- 
tans, Chaldeans, and Syreneans. But besides these 
letters, none of which is, at present, a votvel, and by 
consequence, they cannot determine the pronunciation, 

the Hebrews have invented points, which, being 

put under the letters, serve instead of vowels. These 
vowel-points serve not only to fix pronunciation, but 
also the signification of a word, because the word 
being diftcrently pointed, signify things wholly differ- 
ent. This is the circumstance which has made the 
question as to the antiquity of the points seem of con- 
sequence, and hath, therefore, been treated of very 
.prolixly. Some have pretended that these points are 
as ancient as the Hebrew language, and that Abram 
made use of them. Others make Moses the author 
of them. But the most common opinion among the 
Jews, is, that Moses having learned of God the true 



16 



HISTORY OF 



pronunciation of Hebrew words, this science was pre- 
served in the Synagogue by oral tradition, until the 
time of Esdras, who invented the points and accents 
to preserve it. Elias Levita, a German Jew of the 
last age, and very learned in the Hebrew Grammar, 
hath rejected this sentiment, and maintamed that the 
nivention of points was much later. He ascribes it to 
the Jews of Tiberias, about the 500th year of Christ 
and alleged that this art was not perfected until about 
the year 1040, by two famous Massorites, Ben Asher 
and Ben Napthali." 

From this it appears that it was not until the 11th 
Century that anything like certainty was given to the 
signification of that language in which it is said God 
thought proper to convey his ideas and wishes to poor 
luman nature ! Wonderlully strange that he should 
have revealed his ''will " in the most imperfect and 
ambignous language in the world !— a language which 
the most erudite could not clearly understand. Com- 
mon sense would have suggested the selection of the 
plainest and most perfect language possible, but, I 
suppose, '' God's ways are not our ways." I hope 
they never will be, if they are as stupid as these. 

1 have made an assertion, however, which it is 
highly necessary 1 should substantiate. We have 
affirmed that the Septuagint translation, from which 
our modern versions are generally taken, is not cor- 
rect. ]\ow for my proof My first authority is the 
learned Christian Professor, Du Pin. He remarks in 
the work before quoted,-^'' In short, wc must confess 
that there are manj/ differences betwixt the Hebrew 
text and the version of the Septuagint, which arose 
Irom the corruption and confusion that are in the 
l.reek version we now have. It is certain that it 
hath been rccised divers limes, and that several au- 
thors have taken the liberty to add thereunto, to re- 
trench, and to correct divers things!" He further 
observes—" It is mere superstition to assert, as some 
authors do, that the Hebrew text which we have at 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



17 



present, is not corrupted in any place, and that there 
is wo fault, nor anything left out, and that we must 
indispensably follow it at all time. This is not only 
to speak without all evidence, and contrary to all pro- 
babili;y, but we have every good proof to the contrary. 
For, in the first place, there have been diirerences be- 
twixt the oldest of the Hebrew copies, which the 
Massorites have observed, by that which they call 
Keri, and Ketib, and putting one of the readings in 
the text, and the other in the margin, we have the 
dififerent readings of the Jews of the East, and the 
Jews of the ^Vesl, — the Ben Asher, and the Ben 
Napthali." 

My next authority is a still more learned writer 
than even Du Pin, and with whose works the Eng- 
lish reader may be better acquainted. ^ 

1 mean Bellamy, author of the New Translation of 
the Bible. In the introduction to that able and elab- 
orate production, Bellamy denounces, in no qualified 
terms, the Scptuagint version, and points out numer- 
ous errors and discrepancies of the most flagrant 
character. In Genesis, says he, c. 15, v. 11, there is 
a sentence, " he drove them away," which ought to 
have been " he remained vith them.^'' In the 6 c. v. 6, 
there is an expression '' it grieved him at his heart," 
which should be '• he idolized himself at his heart," 
implying congratulation, rather than regret. The 
sentence in the 22 c. v. 16, stating that "thus she 
was reproved,'^ should have been translated* " thus 
she was justified,'' meaning the very reverse to that 
we are trained to believe. The notorious exclamation 
of Jeremiah, in the 20 c. of his book, ^' O Lord, thou 
hast deceived me, and I was deceived^'^ should have 
been rendered " O Lord, thou hasi persuaded me, thus 
I wsiS persuaded 1 1 '^ These and many other Holy 
blunders, the learned Bellamy exposes, and concludes 
by declaring that the authors of the Septuagint did 
not critically understand the Hebrew language. And 
yet, forsooth, it is the comoosition of these pious blun- 

2* 



18 



HISTORY OF 



'^l7''Z!^1^fl%r"'f'^''^'' to esteem as " Di- 

lo tne JNcw 1 ranslation, that the version known a«! 

The rJTi ^^ "" '*"'y =" «l'»'KIOUS COPY ! '- 

i he real Sepumgint was never circnlated, being lost 
at the destnictiou of the Alovnn.lrin,. i ;i ^ 
winch u was then depos.ted. Tl^ it "p ays" ' V^ 
Septuagmt translation continually ^cddsto tTes Jl 
^ndckanffesthe Hebrew text oIpleasn"^f'iZ^\Z[ 
he original translation of it wai lost long ago and 

copy "Cfji,!""' S"'"' "^y ♦'^^'^ --«> i« a spurious 
icarned Prelate i^TreS !t fol lollatre ChnltSn 

Mdd J'— -\'f '" than .«foS"" fC^h" 

this^frot'oTeet'tSr'^^^^ ^" ^- '^^^ 

Serlt'^tr;^ other langnagcs.- The CllS. 
the Om' t!;. ' ^""d'»g to the Latin version of 

-''?f thTy saTthh'^r'" ^^^^ the Septnagint, asks 

them teirme^i'^/ "tTfr "" "','^ "^^""'' '«' 
rf«7Are/,/ contr^r * *''"' "'^ ^''^^st as many 

truti be searched f "'' ^n^tscript., and if the 
be searched for among so many, why shonid 



THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



19 



we not have recourse to the Greek original, in order 
to correct the faults that have proceeded either from 
the bad translations of the interpreters, or from unrea- 
sonable corrections that have been made by unskilful 
critics, and alterations that have happened through 
the carelessness of the copiers." We are told by St. 
Jerome, that Origen, the famous Christian Father, 
and opponent of the ancient Infidel Celsus, wrote a 
version of the Old Testament, from which many of 
our more modern copies have been taken. Jerome de- 
clared that in this translation, Origen altered the Greek 
text most abominablv. The following are the words 
of Du Pin on this point :— " St. Jerome makes frequent 
mention of the additions, corrections, and subtractions 
made in the version of the Septuaghit by Origen, and 
of the bars and astericks he made use of for that pur- 
pose. 'When Origen,' says Jerome, ' saw there vv^as 
less in the Greek than the Hebrew, he did supply it 
from the version of Tlieodotion, and put an asterisk 
or star to it, to signify that this was to illustrate what 

was obscure .' '" 

This same Theodotion, we are informed by St. Je- 
rome, was an Infidel, and that his version was con- 
founded with the Scptuagint. The French Professor 
says, "By the carelessness of the transcribers, and 
sometimes of those who set them to work, the aster- 
isks of Origen, being misunderstood, or entirely left 
out, in some places, the additions of Theodotion were 
cotifoundcd with the version of the Septuagint, which, 
perhaps, moved Jerome to say, that Origen had cor- 
rupted and confounded the version of the Septuagmt." 
Thus, then, does it appear, that in the version of Ori- 
gen, from which many of our present copies are taken, 
the 'words of Theodotion the Infidel, were confounded 
with God's words! ! What a medley ! Oh! Chris- 
tians, how do you know when you read your Bibles, 
but you are reading the words of an Infidel 7 Let 
me advise you, for your own sakes, never to read it 
again 



20 



HISTORY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. 



ma^v ov ;J P"W.shed Jo„rnal, from whicl. sa 

records ffn./ K 7 T*""" '"^''° ''y ""^ P^<=«« »'■ l="e, 
records a fact winch I cannot bnt submit to you ere ] 

the first ^5li:r'"''r;'' T\ "> "^^' «"''«h llusCm 

for tlL f ' ^ ^' "•'^'^ "'^ ' '^''"" ^''^'" '"" IJ« afrai,! 

1 s. n,o! 1 "°' '?■' "'".^"-^ "nd vermin by night '" 
one o, If ''"'"^' "' r"" '» °"^ moden version, is 
F^tlttonr ■""'''' correcfons," spoken of by 

I liMve now, my friends, given vou as fnr n^ m.r 

IWamen^^^^^^^^^ ^^'."^^^' ^^^^ H^tory entire ("^ 
Icstament, from the earliest period to the time of its 

the New To . f '1 ^"'^^^y' ^" connection with 

the New lestament, to the present century, and snn- 

a ' l^e wf^ f"/^ "^"?"^ '^'^ ^^^"-- and^ import U, 
nnJ ? 'f ' ''^^^ ^'^^^' ^^^'"'"g been read to you 

SS'V^'"''^"^T^I^ as respectable and n.m^: 
peacliable. In retirmg, I distinctly challen-e any man 
to meet the testimony I have adduced. I ?onn mmd 

Ken t^'\r''^Tn^ '' -"^^^ on?; ten7 o" 

S n. T'h ^? ^^ '^'^' ^'^'^ scheme of mipostnre 

man w """^ '''''^'' '*^" ^"^"^^^ P^^^th way of 

man with error, ignorance, cant, and delusion ' 



LECTURE SECOND. 



HISTORY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



Friends — 

In rising to resume the subject upon which I ad- 
dressed you last Sunday evening, I deem it advisable 
to recapitulate the most important points then dis- 
cussed. I adopt this course in order that parties, who 
may not have been present on that occasion, may 
observe the connection between the present and pre- 
ceding discourse, — a connection which it is highly 
necessary should be distinctly understood. 

We commenced by expressing our conviction as to 
the many advantages which must attend an inquiry 
of this cliaracter. We then proceeded to trace the 
History of the Old Testament from the earliest times. 
We remarked that a book said to be so jireciotis—n 
book, a belief in which is declared to be so essential to 
the eternal salvation of every human being, had been 
known only to a contemptibly small section of the 
human race,— the Jews, until so recent a period as 
the year 287, B. C. Up to this time, that barbarous 
race had alotie enjoyed the peculiar and inesti7nable 
privilege of its perusal. We expressed our astonish- 
ment at the extraordinary circumstance of a book 
containing the revealed will of an omniscient and 
omnipotent Deity remaining so long in comparative 
obscurity. We then proceeded to show that the Jews 
themselves were generally ignorant of the Sacred Law 
until so late a date as the year 628, before Christ, the 
book of the law being then found, we were told, by 



\ 



^ \ 



22 



HISTORY OF 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



23 



an old priest named Hilkiah, in one of the houses of 
the Lord and further, that in the niterval between 
this period and the year 287, when it was translated 
into Greek, the " book " had been \o^i—absolntclu de- 
stroyed during the Babylonish captivity. lu fact, the 
Uld lestament as it is now olfered to us, was a com- 
paratively modem production, being written by an 
old cunning priest named Ezra, only some 400 years 
before the time of Christ. We n^xt stated that the 
liible is 7iot complete, being only a small portion of 
the '' word of God,"— that many books were never 
transmitted to posterity in consequence of the ravages 
of the Chaldeans, and the carelessness and profanity 
of the Jews themselves, who not only lost whole books 
of the " Bible," but positively burnt others. We 
proved there was no proper canon or authorized col- 
lection of the Old Testament, until the Maccabees, 
which was only 200 years before the Christian epoch. 
We commented upon the translation of the Old Tes- 
tament into Greek by order of Ptolemy Philadelnhus 
lu the year 287, B. C. We proved that this transla- 
tion could not be depended upon, the most villanous 
mutilations having been made in the Hebrew Text 
by way of ''alterations, additions, and omissions^" 
and that similar liberties had been taken by the " Fa- 
tlicrs " in translations subsequently made from this 
lamous version. 

We have thus brought our historical rcmew of the 
■Scriptures to the Christian era. This introduces us 
to a new field of discussion. We have now to con- 
sider, in connection with the old. a more recent pro- 
duction— /Ae New Testament. This modern ])ortioii 
of the ;' word of God" is esteemed by the Christians 
as eminently valuable apd important— so much so 
that were the Old 'Yi^simnGut perfectly false, the New 
I estament they conceive remains absolutely true — 
Alany Chnstinus are disposed to admit, that just and 
reasonable doubts may be entertained of the autheu- 
ticity and genuineness of many books of the Old 



4 



Testament, but the evidence in favor of the New 
they affirm is irrefragable. To this opinion, however, 
I must decidedly demur. I deny that the testimony 
in favor of the New Testament is unquestionable. I 
question indeed whether it is at all superior to the 
Old. In some respects, the Old Testament has the 
advantage, for the most important portion of that di- 
vision of the "Holy Word" is said to have been 
written by the man immediately connected with it — 
Moses ; but Christ — the hero of the New Testament, 
never wrote a line of that book, nor, according to Dii 
Pin, did he ever order any one else to write it. Neither 
the Old nor the New Testament, however, have the 
advantage of the Koran. Mahomet declares that he 
received his Bible directly from Heaven, chapter by 
chapter. Now the Christian Scriptures are confessedly 
written by priests, — priests, as I shall show in a sub- 
sequent address, of the most ignorant, credulous and 
worthless character. 

My friends, it is admitted on all hands that no 
portion of the New Testament was written during the 
life of Christ. The very earliest, as stated by the 
(vhristians themselves, was not written till the year 
G 1 — that is, rather more than 30 years after his death. 
But we have just reason to believe they were not 
written until long afterwards, particularly the four 
(jrospels. 

The first time any allusion is made to the Gospels 
was by the Christian Father, Ireneus, in the year 182, 
that is, nearly 150 years after the time of Christ. Dr. 
Lardner maintains that the five books of Ireneus 
against heresies, in which this reference is made, (vol. 
3, c. 1,) could not be published earlier than this date. 
Tillemont and Massuett, two great French Christian 
writers, think the more probable date of this publica- 
tion was 102, about the latter end of the timo. of 
Fihitherus. (See the London edition of Dr. T^ardner's 
works, in 12 vols., 1788, vol. 2, 1.51 to 159.) 

Had these books been in existence prior to this 



24 



HISTORY OF 



period, It ,s exceedingly strange tlicy arc not men- 
tioned by any of tlie Apostolic Mhcvs who lived^ a 
or immediately subsequent to, the time of ChrLTno; 

closfoftrr''?"''? '=**•""' ^^'"' fl-->'ed at Z 
itnrv ], \ "'"^ commencement of the second 
century. It is admitted, on all hands, that thev are 
not named by the apostolic father liar,.abas,'^who 

lounslicd A.p. %— nor by Hermas, who lived A. D 
100-norbySt. Ignatius, who lived in the year 107 
-nor Po ycarp 108-Papias, llC-Justin Vartyr, 
yel7lnm°' ^ Hegesippus, so late as the 

The learned Dodwcll, in his Dissertation unon 
Irencus says ■' We have at this day certain Zs 
authentic ecclesiastical writers of the times, as crm- 
ens Romanus, Harnabas, Hermas, Ignatms, and Poly, 
carp, who wrote in the same ordc? wherein 1 have 
uuned them, and after all the writers of the ]\W 
Testament. But m Hermas you will not find o»e 
single passage, or any mention of the Ne-v Tcsti 

muned"'''" '" "'' *'"" '"'*' '' ^"^ ''"" ""^ ""= Evangelists 
I repeat, then that Iremus is the>-.,; ^vho mentions 
he four go.spels which circumstance did not occ ? 
ur td h><i years after the death of ChriM. And upon 
what authority docs Irencus present these four gospds 
as genuine ) \\ hy, on his onm authority onl/ Now 
ct us suppose a case. Charles the 1st succeeded to 
he throne in lG2S-some 200 years ago. Sunpo c 
.at now, 1816 for the first tiZ, a desp'icable Jnest 
like Irencus should say that certain accounts of a 
man endowed wifli miraculous powers, who lived in 
London in 1028 and who worked Miracles there 
vere published bv JVIatthe«^ Bay, Mark Randall' 

7 r./-!r"' • o'"" /"'"'stoue, {persons not heard 

<>J befo,e, or mentioned by any other writer of the 
t^m<^,) 01 something miraculous that happened under 
Charles the l.t. What credit ought to be given o 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



26 



ascribed to siicli a narration? Yet on such kind of 
evidence, is Christianity founded ! 

13 ut pray who was this Ireneus, upon whose verac- 
it}^ so much depends? Why, a "Christian Father," 
and one of the most ignorant and credulous, of that 
superstitious, cunning, and I will add, dishonest class 
of men. 

J shall liave occasion to speak in very strong terms 
of the character of these "holy men" in my next 
discourse. I reserve, therefore, any lengthened re- 
marks upon this head, until a future occasion. At 
this moment I shall only quote a brief passage from 
the De Script. Interpret., page 73, of the celebrated 
Dr. AVhithy, where he is alhidmg to the conduct of 
Irencus and the Father Papias. The Dr. complains 
bitterly of their having "handed down the actions of 
the apostles and their disciples from paltry rumors^ 
and dubious reports^ and as having scand<dously de- 
luded tlie world witli fables and lying narrations.''^ 
If such were the general practices of Ireneus, what 
authority have we that these four Gospels, said by 
liini to be written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
John, are not, like the rest of his productions, "mere 
fables and lying narrations?" We have every occa- 
sion to believe, indeed, that such is the fact, especially 
when we remember the extraordinary reasons he 
assigns for there being four, and just four gospels 
inspired. His reasons are, "because there are but 
four cpiarters of the world, and every cherubim has 
four faces ! ^^ Strange animals those cherubims, un- 
questionably, but what a reason I How worthy of a 
|)riest ! Every cherubim has four faces, ergo^ there 
are only four inspired gospels ! What logic ! How 
convincing t How miansiucrcd^lc ! How worthy of 
the bool^ they arc written to support ! 

And we arc " Infidels " because we cannot believe 
such farrago. Be it so. Better be the Infidel whose 
reason and conmion sense enables him to repudiate 



:] 



! 



26 



HISTORY OF 



such absurdity, than the saint whose blind creduHty 
and narrow prejudices induce him to accredit it. 

At tlie time Ireneus introduced these four gospels 
to the world, it is notorious there were many other 
"gospels" in circulation, which were held in high es- 
teem by the majority of the early Christians. By what 
means, then, did Ireneus determine that these four 
gospels (done were genuine, and the rest spurious \ 
Did the "cherubims with four faces" enlighten him 
upon the subject ] Be that as it may, such an impor- 
tant cpicstion could not be determined except by. one 
of enlarged intellect, erudition, and perspicacity. And 
was Ireneus such a man 7 Confessedly not. On the 
contrary, he was weak and credulous, and, as Dr. 
Whitby says, in the habit of Av^riting "fables and ly- 
ing narrations." It is evident, therefore, the authority 
of Ireneus upon this vital point is just worth as nuich 
as his logic. 

To show you the great difficulty attending tliis 
portion of our iiupiiry, and the very unsatisfactory 
manner in which it was decided, I will cpiote from 
the 4th vol., page 2G0, of the Introduction to the 
Scriptures, second edition, by the Rev. J. H. Home : 
" The accounts left us," says he, " by eclesiastical 
writers of antiquity, concerning the time ichen the 
gospels were written or published, are so vagiie^ con- 
fused^ and discordant^ that they load to no certain or 
solid determination. The eldest of the ancient fathers 
collected the Reports of their own times, and set 
them down as certain truths^ and those who Ibllowed 
adopted their accounts with implicit reverence. Thus 
tradition, true or false^ passed on from one writer to 
another, without examination^ until, at last, it became 
too late to examine them to any purpose." 

I have said that at the time Ireneus first mentioned 
these four gospels, there were many others in circula- 
tion, some vi{ which had existed, we are told, for 
nearly a century before, and were considered genuuie 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



27 



by the early Christians, and actually read and qvotvd 
as the word of God. There were, also, a great num- 
ber of Epistles, Acts, Revelations, fe., which were 
also deemed genuine. The best list of these spurious 
productions is to be found hi Toland's Amy liter, as 
corrected by .foiies in his Treatise on the Canon, 
copied into Home's collection. I may name a few of 
the most important. IMiere were the Gospel of St. 
Peter, St. Thomas, St. Mathias, St. Bartholomew, St. 
Phihp, .Tudas Iscariot, Thaddeus, and Barnabas. The 
Acts of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Andrew, St. John, St. 
Phihp, and St. Thonids ; and the Revelations of St. 
Paul, St. Thomas, St. Stci)hen, and the (^/cW Ajiostle. 
There were upwards of fifty altogether. All these 
Gospels, Acts, and Revelations were, at one time, 
considered the "divine w^ord." It was only by beliciv- 
mg in these books that mankind could be "saved; " 
while the (;osi)els. Acts, and Revelations which are 
now olfercd to us were denounced as spurious,— as 
"tables and lying narrations." 

And who are the most likely to know which are 
false and which are true '/ Those who lived at the 
time these books arc said to have appeared, or those 
who fiourished centuries sul)se(juently '] Undoubtedly 
the lormer. Viewing the subject, therefore, hi this 
point of view, we have just reason to believe that 
those rejected gospels are more likely to be true; ( if 
any are so) than our modern version. And. oh, Christ- 
ians ! if sucli be the fact, in what a quandiuy are 
you placed / What a serious responsibility rests upon 
your pious shoulders? You have rejected the true 
gospels, and allowed them to fall into utter oblivion, 
while you have sanctioned that which is false and 
spurious ! ! ! How many millions of credulous wretch- 
es liave you by these means, led into eternal perdition \ 
and it you believe in these books yourselves, yon may 
also meet wiili the same unenviable fate ! Miserable, 
mistaken, and unfortunate men! What a motley as- 
semblage of dchi(](Ml Christians, —believers in the 



28 



HISTORY OF 



wrong gospel, will the honest but despised Infidel 
behold on his arrival at the torrid regions of eternity ! 
What a splendid run of business his Satanic Majesty- 
will enjoy ! What a monopoly of "departed spirits ' ! 
No " bad times " — no lack of trade with hhn. The 
Infidel may rest assured, when he is snugly reposing 
in his infernal domicil, that he will not quite be "lone 
in his glory." 

To convince you that I am not indulging in mere 
idle surmise, or uncourteous banter, 1 will refer you 
to the writings of some celebrated Christians. This, 
I opine, will expunge (dl my "sins," for if you can 
only cite some Christian pri(?st in favor of any propo- 
sition, it will be received with acclamation, while, 
were the same statements to come from one who is 
esteemed an " hifidel," they would instantly be repro- 
bated as " blasphemies." 1 have affirmed, then, that 
many of these rejected gos[)els were held in high 
consideration, not only before, but subsecjuent, to the 
sanction of our pn^sent canon. Nay, many learned 
men of recent times have had strong predilections in 
favor of many of these discarded books, considering 
them as genuine as any of our canonized version, 
liisten to the opinions of the learned J)r. Whiston, in 
his " Exact Time," page '^S. lie has declared that 
no less than tu'oity-sevcn of these books are genuine. 
"Can any one," says he, "be so weak as to imagine 
Mark, and Luke, and .lames, and Jude, who were 
none of them untrc than conipanions of the Apostles, 
to be our sacred and unerring guides, while Barnabas, 
Thaddeus, Clement, Timothy, Hennas, Ignatius, and 
Polycarp, who were ecpially companions of the same 
Apostles, to be of no authority at all/ " The Rev. 
J. Martineau, in his " RatioiKde of Religious En- 
(piiry." observes, — "If we could recover the gospels 
of the Ih^brews, and that oi the Egyptians, it would 
beditiicdlt to give a reason why thkv should not lorm 
a part of the New Testament; and an epistle actually 
exists, by Clement, the fellow-laborer of Paul, which 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



29 



has as good a claim to stand there, as the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, or the Gospel of Luke. If none but 
the works of the twelve apostles were admitted, the 
rule would be clear and simple, but what are Mark 
and Luke, vj\\o are rccdved^ more than Clement and 
Barnal>as. who are excluded T^ And Archbishop 
Wake actually translated from the (h'cck the Apos- 
tolic Fathers of the first century, viz., St. Barnabas, St. 
Clement, St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, and St. Hermas, 
and strongly recommended them to the Christian 
world as " inspired," and "containing an authoritative 
declaration of the (iospel of Christ to us." (See 
Wake's Apostol. Fathers.) The learned Bishop Marsh 
positively avers tliat, *' ft is an undoubted fact that 
those Christians by whom the now-rejected gospels 
were received, and who are now called heretics, were 
in the right in many points of criticism, where the 
fathers accused them of wilful corruption." 

1 now a])j)roach a most material portion of our 
inquiry. From the era of Christ, until the latter end 
of the fourth century, there was no authorised collec- 
tion of the writings of the New Testament. All was 
doubt, and disjnitc, for the first 300 years, during the 
very time everything should have been certain and 
satisfactory. If it was all doubt 1500 years ago, can 
it be all certainty now? 

About the middle of the thb^d century, however, 
Ori^ren, the celebrated Christian father, — a man who 
had almost unlimited power in the church, — thought 
proper to make a selection from the great number of 
books then current amongst the Christians. The 
selection included the canon in circulation at this day. 
Through the dominant infiuence Origen possessed in 
the church at this period, his selection soon became 
popular, and in the year 363 was declared by the 
Council of Laodicea, to be the only " genuine Scrip- 
tures." It is more than probable, had not Origen 
made this selection, and possessed such supreme influ- 
ence among the Christians of his day, that our present 

3=^ 



30 



HISTORY OF 



canon would have been forgotten, like many of the 
now -rejected books. 

Is it not, my friends, very extraordinary that a 
book like the New Testament, claiming to be of 
"divine" origin, should have remahied so long in ob- 
scurity, and at last only saved from eternal oblivion 
through the presumption of a cunning and despotic 
priest, and finally determined to be genuine by the 
mere dicta of a council of priests, equally deccitCul 
and arbitrary as himself? This simple fact is alone 
sutiicient to convince every unprejudiced mind that 
the Hible has no more to do with Deity than Gulliver's 
Travels or Tom Thumb. 

An important question here suggests itself How 
did this Council of Laodicea decide that our present 
canon of the New Testament is the true word of 
God I Did they receive a special message fnm 
heaven upon the subject? No, indeed, but tfiis vital 
m^atter was decided solely by ro^e— decided as your 
Town Council might decide upon a police lorce, or 
the House of Commons upon a tariff. It mig/tl have 
happened the majority had voted against our present 
authorised version, and in favor of some of the re- 
jected books. And what then ? Why, that which 
we ?i(ru^ esteem the " Word of God" would have been 
denounced, as were the repudiated copies, "as mere 
fables and lying narrations," and we should nov have 
been promulgating as the " Holy Word" that which 
was tke?i declared to be false and spurious. Willumi 
Penn, the celebrated Quaker, in arguing that the 
Bible cannot be the rule of faith and practice, says— 
"1 demand of our adversaries if they are well assured 
of those men who first collected, embodied, and de- 
clared them (the Scriptures) authentic, by a public 
canon which we read was in the Council of L.aodicea 
held 360 years after Christ,"— "J say. how do they 
knoiD that these inen rightly discerned true from 
spurious ? Now, sure it is, that some of the Scrip^ 
tures taken in by one council, were rejected by another 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



31 



/or apocryphal, and that which was left out by the 
former for apocryphal, was taken in by the latter for 
canonical. Now, visible it is, that they contradict 
each other, and as true that they hath erred respect- 
ing the present belief" (Penn's Works, vol. 1, p. 
302, 303, 304, London, 1782.) 

It is manifest, my friends, the whole matter rests 
merely on huniau dicta^ and not divine interposition^ 
and tlierefore the pretensions of the Christian world 
to the divinity of their "Sacred" oracle, are alike 
tuitous and absurd. 

Presuming, however, this was a legitimate mode of 
determining the divinity of Scripture, a further ques- 
tion has to be considered, whether the men who 
composed these councils were competent to decide 
such critical matters? We must be assured they were 
enlightened and unprejudiced, and disposed to discuss 
the subject dispassionately. We must be certain they 
examined, minutely and deliberately^ all the evidence, 
pro et con^ in reference to the different Gospels, Acts, 
Epistles, and Revelations, claiming to be genuine 
Scripture. For if they were not persons of this high 
character, acting in the enlightened spirit proposed, 
710 confidence can be placed in their decisions. They 
would be calculated only to mislead, — to confoiuid 
rather than to settle the controvesy. 

Now I aver most fearlessly that they were not men 
so distinguished and estimable. They were, on the 
contrary, excessively bigoted, prejudiced, and credu- 
lous — indissolubly wedded to their own crotchets. 
Their conduct, indeed, m those " holy councils," 
would have disgraced a pot-house. 

My friends, these are bold assertions, and require 
very distinct proof I will at once adduce it. I shall 
first quote from an eye witness, upon the authority of 
the Christian writer, Tindal, in the 195th page of his 
work, entitled, "Rights of the Christian Church." 
"St. Gregory Nazianzen" says he, "in his letter to 
Procopius, tells him ^ That he fled all assemblies of 



32 



HISTORY OF 



bishops, because he never saw a good and happy end 
of any council, but that they did rather increase than 
lessen the evil, that the love of contention and ambi- 
tion always overcomes their reason / / / ' " Pretty men 
to determine questions of such vital moment ! 

But listen further to the words of the pious Nazian- 
zen. He reiterates his determination of never gomg to 
any council, '• because nothin<^ is to be heard there but 
geese and cranes! who fight without understanding 
one another." An unif[ue, pious, and rational assem- 
bly this, truly ! How characteristic of the priestly 
system ! We are here informed by one who was 
2)resent at these councils, that there was notlhng to be 
heard but '•''geese and cranes^^^ and it is upon the de- 
cisions of animals like these, that the authenticity 
and genuineness of our Bible rests. O, Christians ! 
when will you be ashamed of your crcduhty .^ Little 
do these " geese and cranes " know the deference you 
pay to their rational and odightened dicta ! 

Listen again if you please, to the opinions of Tin- 
dal, as to the character of these '' pious " assemblies. 
Alluding, in particular, to the memorable Council of 
Nice, held in the year 327, at which the Emperor 
Constantlne presided, he observes : — '^ And if these 
accusations and libels which the bishops at the Coun- 
cil of Nice give in of one another to the Kinperor, 
were now extant, in all probability, we should have 
such rolls of scandal^ that few would have much rea- 
son to boast of the first Gilcumenical council, where, 
with such heat, passion, and fury, the Bishops fell 
fold on one another^ insomuch, that had not the Em- 
peror by a trick burnt their Church memorials, pro- 
bably tliey must have broke up in confusion ! After 
that Council was over, the Bishops made so great a 
bustle and disturbance^ and were so unruly, that the 
g(wd Emperor was forced to tell them " that if they 
would not be more quiet and peaceable for the future, 
he would no longer continue his expedition against 
the Infidels, but must return to keep them in order." 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



33 



*' Indeed," says Tindal. " the confusion and disorder 
were so great amongst them, especially in their *Sy- 
tiods^ that it sometimes came to bloivs ; as for instance, 
Dioscorus, Bishop of Alexandria, cuffed and kicked 
Flavianus, Patriarch of Constantinople, (at the sec- 
ond Synod of Ephesus) with that fury that within 
Ihree days after he died I V Oh! what Christians, 
and Christian Bishops, too ! — the men upon whose 
judgment the Christian world depend for their creeds 
and their Scriptures ! What a mockery ! 

But, my friends, listen still further. You have 
heard of their bigotry and violence. A word as to 
their honesty and consistency. Tindal, speaking of 
this subject, observes, "for though they were most 
obstinate as to power, they were most flexible as to 
faith, and in their councils complimented the Emper- 
or with whatsoever creeds they had a mind to, and 
never scrupled to recant what they had before enacted, 
or to re-enact what they had before recanted. Nay, 
so very variable were they that St. Hilary, Bishop of 
Poictiers, says that ^ since the Nice?ie Synod, we do 
nothing but write creeds; that while we ^^A^ about 
words ; while we raise questions about novelties ; 
while we quarrel about things doubtful, and about 
authors, while we contend in parties, there is almost 
none that is Christ's. We decree every year of the 
Lord a new creed concerning God , nay, every change 
of the moon our faith is altered."' Flexible gentle- 
men, indeed! Tliey remind me of the words of 
Byron : — 

" The moment you had pronounced him one, 
Presto ! his face changed and he was another, 
And when that change was hardly well put on, 
It varied, till I don't tlinik his own mother,' 

ill" that he had a mother) would her son 
iave known, he shifted so from one to t'othor.'' 

The following fact, mentioned by Pappius in his 
"Synodicum of the Council of Nice" is, however, 
worth all the preceding, valuable and curious though 



34 



HISTORY OF 



they be. Pappiiis informs us of the manner in which 
the true Gospels were selected from the false at that 
mernorable Council. This was done, says he, *' bij 
placing all the books under a cornmnnion table^ and, 
upon the prayers of the council, the inspired books 
jumped upon the tabid while the false ones remained 
under ! ! '^ What a test of truth I What a proof of 
inspiration! It is quite a stirring argument. Who, 
after this, will venture to doubt the authenticity of 
the Scriptures? 

From St. Cyril's Letters we learn that when the 
people of Hphesus were informed tliat the Fathers of 
the council had declared they might call the *' Virgin 
Mary" the •' Mother of God," they were transported 
with joy ; they kissed the hands of the bishops — they 
embraced their knees, and the whole city resounded 
with acclamations. Happy creatures! After this, 
surely no one will doubt that ''ignorance is bliss." 

Enough, however, of these councils, their squabbles 
and their freaks. It must be evident to all of you, 
they cannot be relied upon by any one possessing or- 
dinary intelligence, and if these councils are not to be 
depended upon, we have no means of ascertaining 
which of the immense imrnher of Gospels, Acts, Epis- 
tles, and Revelations, are really genuine, or if any are 
so. All is confusion, doubt, and uncertainty ! A 
curious state of things when the book is said to be of 
divine origin. 

We must now hasten to the conclusion of our histo- 
ry.— After the Council of Laodicea, in the year 363, 
there were two other great councils, one in the year 
40(), and the other in 680. The council of 406 re- 
jected several books deemed canonical by the council 
of 363, but the council of 680 again restored them 
to the canon. Thus were the "Sacred Writings " the 
•' Word of God" tossed like a battledoor, from sect to 
sect, and altered as the spirit of faction might dictate. 

From this period (close of the 7th century) to the 
15th, when printing was invented, the "word of God " 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



35 



remained in pious seclusion. It was locked up in 
Monasteries in the exclusive possession of Monks. — 
llie people were forbidden to read it. If they were 
detected in such an " impious " act, they were pun- 
ished most severely. The priesthood at this period, 
therefore, had every opportunity to do what they liked 
with the Bible — to alter, add, or omit, just as it was 
most convenient. So greatly in fact were the priest- 
hood afraid of the people reading the Bible that a Bill 
was actually introduced into Parliament to prohibit 
any one reading the Scriptures except those who were 
authorized. 

When printing became general, the Bible, despite 
the anxiety of the clergy, was more accessible to the 
laity ; and what was the consequence ? Did it decide 
the grand question which of these numerous Scrip- 
tures were genuine? By no means. It only enhanced 
the doubt and confusion which previously existed. It 
split up the European World into numberless petty 
sectaries, all of which very politely promised each 
other eternal damnation. Up to this moment there 
are no two of the leading sects of Christendom who 
entirely agree upon any one of the versions or books 
of the New Testament, or even of the Old. Luther 
himself rejected the Epistle of James. And Erasmus 
and Calvin doubted of the Revelations. The Unita- 
rians, headed by the Rev. N. Lardner, regard the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, the 2nd of 
Peter, the 2nd and 3rd of John, Jude, and Revela- 
tions as doubtful, and, as they express it, not ^'Jit " to 
be alleged as alfording sufficient proof of afiij doctrine. 

The New Testament published by the learned 
Evanson in 1807, contains only the Gospel of St. 
Luke, Acts, ten of Paul's Epistles, and Revelations, 
and even those are said to " abound with manifest 
and numerous interpolations." The Gospel of Mat- 
thew, Mark, and .Tohn, he cojitemptuously rejects as 
" spurious fictions of the second century." 

The Swedenborgians admit only the four Gospels 
and Revelations. The German Baptists, and the fol- 



36 



HISTORY OP 



lowers of Servetus, do not receive the Gospel of St. 
Matthew, and the learned Professor Bauer in 1803 
denounced it as an absolute " forgery." The 2nd 
Epistle to Timothy, and Titus, were rejected by Dr. 
Eichorn, and the 1st Epistle to Timothy in 1807 by 
-Dr. Scholiermachcr, the celebrated German. The 
Gospel of St. John was rejected in 1820 by Dr. Bret- 
schneider, and the 1st Chapter of Matthew and Luke 
are denounced by the Unitarians in the Monthly Re- 
pository as '' absolute falsities ! '' The Catholic Bible, 
say the Protestants, abounds with innumerable gross 
errors, and in a great number of places, exhibits the 
most shocking barbarity of style, and the most impen- 
etrable obscurity with res])ect to the sense of the 
inspired writers. Yet this Bible was pronounced au- 
thentic by a decree of the Council of Trent. 

The Protestant Bible in return is denounced, even 
so lately as 1816, by the Pope of Rome, as "pregnant 
with errors;" and the old Protestant Bi])le is re'pudi- 
ated by the critic Bi-oughton, who was himself a Pro- 
testant, as " perverting the text of the Old Testament 
m 848 j)laces, and causing millions to reject the New, 
and to run into everlastinor flames ! " As for the 
present version, "its translators," say the learned 
Cathohcs, "ought to be abhorred to the depths of 
hell. 

We exposed in our last lecture many blunders and 
folse translations which had been made in the Old 
Testament. Had I time I could j)oint out similar 
ones in the New. For instance, a ludicrous case of 
false ti-anslation aj.peai-s in Mark 10, c. 25, wliere, 
according to the learned, the word in the original 
means a cable rope, not a camel. In the notion^of a 
cable going tlirough the eye of a needle, an association 
of ideas is preserved, but the other meaning is forced 
and ridiculous. Calmet, the fimous Bible "critic, de- 
clares that the 7th and 8th verses of the 5th c. of 
John's 1st Epistle, "are not in any ancient Bible." — 
Ihis interpolation was an impudent stroke to support 
the trinity. Cappellus informs us that he was thirty- 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



37 



six years in writing the books in which he detects the 
numerous errors and frauds of the Protestant Bible. 
Tliat learned English Divine, Dr. John Mill, assures 
US that thirty years' researches upon the New Testa- 
ment, aU)ne enabled him to detect the enormous num- 
ber of 80,000 dilicrent rcadhigs of that book. Could 
anything match the stupidity and monstrous credulity 
of calhng such a work inspired and iufalUble? It 
appears that even the favorite maxim of Christians, 
"thou sliait love thy neighbor as thyself," has been 
considered by some learned writers to be an interpo- 
lation. Tlie great Clirisuan father, Origen, in his 
commentary on Mattlicw's Gospel, speaking of this 
sentence is forced to admit that " If indeed, there was 
no disagreement in other copies, it would be irreligious 
to suspect that expression was interpolatedj and not 
pronounced by our Saviour. But now, alas ! what 
with the blunders of transcribers — what with the im- 
pious temerity of correcting the text— what with the 
licentiousness of others, who interpolate or expunge, 
just what they please, it is plain the copies do strange- 
ly disagree.^^ 

Nay.^ my friends, it has actually been proved by a 
record in the Cronicon of Muis, that a general altera- 
tion of the four Gospels took place in the Gtli century, 
by order of the Emperor Anastatius, who decreed : — 
"That the Holy Gospels, as written, Idiotis Evangel- 
istis, are to be corrected and amended.'^ This fact is 
mentioned by Scaliger, and Dr. Mill vouches for the 
truth of the record, and says that Messala was Consul 
at the time. Well might the New Testament be com- 
pared to Lord Chancellor Eldon's silk stocking, that 
was darned all over with worsted, until there was no 
silk remaining ; so. in like manner, it is now impossi- 
ble to say, Willi certahity, what this book was origin- 
ally, by whom, where, or when, its component parts 
were written, or how many alterations, additions, 
contradictory translations, and forged interpolations, 
which, from time to time, it has undergone. 

4 



38 



HISTORY OF 



I shall sum up with the following startling observa- 
tion of the distinguished Christian, Le Clerc. He 
curiously observes, in his " Disquisition on Inspira- 
tion," p. 27, — "There is no heresy in rejecting a book 
of tlio Jewish canon, as neither is it to reject one of 
our own; at least, the Protestants have not called 
liUther a heretic for saying that the Epistle of James 
is an Epistle of straw, no more than they have many 
of the learned for not receiving the Second Epistle oY 
Peter, which a famous critic (James Scaliger) styles 
' a fiction of some ancient Christian misemploying his 
leisure time.' The Jewish Sanhedrim may easily 
liave received into their canon books that had no di- 
vine authority y 

Here we are told that it is no heresy to doubt any 
of the sacred writings, and that the Jews mav have 
easily received into the Old Testament books' whicli 
are not of divine origin. Strange production to be 
the word of (iod, any portion of which you may re- 
pudiate with impunity, and any part of which may 
not be of divine origin ! And we are still called upon, 
in tins, the boasted age of science and inquiry, to 
acknowledge such a book as divine. Oh ! when will 
the intellectual and thinking of our race cease to con- 
nive at such absurdity / When will man throw off 
his mental leading strings, and act as a man 7 Will 
he never rise above his intellectual babyhood ? Will 
he always adhere to tlie falsehoods, fancies, and delu- 
sions, accredited by his infantile credulity? Truth 
and humanity forbid it ! Oh ! when, then, will this 
change take place? W^hen ! my friends 7 when men 
dare be honest— when they dare '' keep a conscience'' 
when they dare seize upon the precious jewel of truth 
wherever it is to be found, despite the anathemas of 
priests, and the sneers, insults, and persecutions of 
bigots. And may that day soon arrive. May the 
time not be far distant, when the sacred halo of reason 
and goodness will encircle tiie minds and the hearts 
of men ! 



LECTURE THIRD. 



CHARACTER OF THK 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



Friends — 

In our two preceding discourses, I furnished you 
with a compendious history of the Bible from the 
earliest times on record, to the present age. In devel- 
oping that history I had occasion to lay before you 
facts of the most curious and extraordinary kind — 
facts resting upon the authority of Christians them- 
selves — facts which must convince every enlightened 
and unprejudiced mind that the pretensions of the 
Christian world touching the Divinity of this notori- 
ous book are perfectly unwarrantable and absurd. I 
deemed it necessary to supply you with this history 
in order that all parties may be enabled to take an 
accurate, comprehensive, and, therefore, just view of 
this great and important question. It has too often, 
unfortunately, been the practice of Biblical disputants 
to confine themselves to a very limited and narrow 
consideration of this vast subject — to the possibility 
of some ridiculous miracle, the fulfillment of some 
foolish prophecy, the testimony of some obsolete his- 
torian, or the freaks of some fanatical, impudent, and 
cunning priest. To obviate this mistake, however, I 
am endeavoring, in the first instance, to familiarise 
you with the general bearings of this extensive topic. 
On this occasion, it is our intention to expatiate 
upon a. portion of our inquiry which is intimately and 



40 



CHARACTER OF THE 



inseparably connected with tlie history of the Bible. 
In fact, it may be considered part and parcel of tlie 
snbject. 1 allnde to the character and doings of those 
individnals in whose hands the Scriptnres'originally 
reposed, particnlarly dnruig the first fonr centnries of 
the Christian era, when no anthorised canon or col- 
lection of the books of the New Testament was 
established. 

My remarks at this moment will more especially 
apply to this portion of " the Divine Word," as 1 
have already parthj anticipated this snbject, in rela- 
tion to the (Jld Testament, in my first address. The 
parties to whom I shall, in the first i)lace, more par- 
ticularly allude, are, the Apostolic and other Christian 
fathers. 

It is a matter of the vttnost moment to ascertain if 
those men were honorable, iuirennons, and consistent. 
We must iiKjuire if they were persons upon whom an 
honest and conscientious man can place reliance ; for 
if It can be shown they were not individnals of this 
character, the grand corner-stone of Christian evi- 
dence is undermined. You must remember that it is 
upon the authority of these " Holy Fathers " we are 
called upon to believe the Scriptures genuine. If, 
therefore, it can be demonstrated that tlieir authority 
is exceptionable, we at once overturn the very foun- 
dation of the argument. 

It is necessary 1 should here inform you, in order 
to explain how much depends npon the veracity of 
these holy flithers, that the originals of the New 
Testament are irrecoverably and absolntcly lost. We 
find, on referring to the Introduction to the New Tes- 
tament, by Michaelis, the famous German Professor, 
as translated by Bishop Marsh, that the most ancient 
MSS. of this portion of the "Word of God" were 
writen so lately as the Gth century,— Uiat is, nearly 
500 years after the time ihe originals are said to have 
been composed ! The originals of the New Testa- 
ment, indeed, have not been seen, says Michaelis, by 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



41 



any writer extant, nor do they record that any one of 
their contemporaries had seen them. The ''holy 
fathers " themselves do not profess to have seen the 
originals. Professor Michaehs further observes, •'' None 
of the most early fathers, as Ignatius or Tertullian, 
appeal to the originals, or'had seen them;'- and Pro- 
fessor Du Pin, in his -'History of the Canon," ♦fcc, 
remarks — " We do not find that the two greatest men 
of the church, I mean Origen and St. Hierom, who 
had searched the ancient copies of the Scriptures with 
so much care and diligence, and have visited so many 
churches in the east, have ever spoken of the origi- 
nals of the New Testament, written with the hands 
of the Apostles, which they would not have failed to 
do if tliere had been any in dieir times." Again, he 
observes, " But it hath been already made to appear 
elsewhere that it is no wonder that die primitive 
Christians, who had not a rcguhir body of a state in 
which they lived, and whose assemblies were, on the 
contrary, furiously disturbed by die Jews and Pa- 
gans, had LOST the originals of their books I — 
"Nay," says he, ''in the primitive ages, there was 
no talk of reading the Holy Scriptures in their origi- 
nals ; any copy whatever, provided it were used in the 
ordiodox churches, might be relied upon, as if it had 
been the first original, written widi the hands of the 
apostles" ! The llev. Dr. Campbell, in his work on 
the Four Gospels, page 117, also observes, — " The 
autographs, (tlie originals,) it is acknowledged on all 
hands, are nowhere to be fonnd. What we have in 
their stead are the copies of copies, (Uirough how 
many successors it is impossible to say) which were 
originally taken from these autographs." Rev. Dr. 
Hirg, in his Introduction to die New Testament, goes 
further, however, than Michaelis or Campbell. He act- 
ually affirms that, " It is probable there could have 
been no autographs of the New Testament at all." 

Since, then, the originals of the New Testament are 
absolutely lost, and, according to Michaelis and Du 

4* 



42 



THE CHARACTER OF THE 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



43 



Pin have not been seen by any writer extant, or any 
ot their cotemporaries, it is manifest ^ve have nothins' 
to depend upon but the copies these holy men have prt 
sented to us. I repeat, therefore, it is a question of 
vital importance— Me question, indeed, to ascertain if 
tliese men arc worthy of credit. 

Now I unhesitatingly denounce them as persons 
unworthy of belief, whose testimony, at this period 
would not be received in any court of law in Christ- 
endom upon the most frivolous case imaginable De- 
liberately do I aver that imposture and deception was 
their common practice. They esteemed dissimulation 
and falsehood as excellencies, and not as vices-—^^ 
excellencies to be imitated,~uoi as vices to be despised 
lo (leceiyc the people, they considered a positive 
virtne. >,ot only did they think such infamous prac- 
tices necessary to the success of reli^non ! but actuallv 
honorable to it. In short, if there were at any time 
one body of men, as public teachers, more deceitful 
dishonest, and despicable than another, they were the 
class of whom I am now speaking,— the class upon 
whom the Christian world depend foi the genuine- 
ness of their Scriptures. 

This, my friends, may be considered a rash decla- 
ration. Let those, however, who labor under such a 
conception, hsten to my proof I shall first (luote 
Irom the most able ecclesiastical historian of modern 
times— the German Historian and Professor Mo- 
shcim In his Ecclesiastical History, part 2nd,' chap. 
Jrd, he makes use of the following extraordinaiv 
language :— '^ The interest of virtue and true religion 
suftered yet more grievously by the monstrous errors 
that were almost universally adopted in this century 
Cthe fourth) and became a source of innumerable 
calamities and mischiefs in the succeeding ao-es. The 
first of these maxims was, ' that it tvas an act of vir- 
tue to DECEIVE AND LIE, whcu by that nicaus the 
mterestoi the church might be promoted;' and the 
second, equally horrible, though in another point of 



view, was. 



that errors in religion, when maintained 
and adhered to after proper admonition, were punish- 
able with civil penalties and corporeal tortures.' The 
former of these erroneous maxims was now of long 
standing ! it had been adopted for some ages past, 
and had produced an incredible number of ridiculous 
fables, fictitious prodigies, and pious frauds ! to the 
unspeakable detriment of that glorious cause in which 
they were em])loyed. And it must be frauJdy con- 
fessed, that the greatest men and most eminent saints 
of this centmy were more or less tainted with the 
infection of this corrupt principle, as will appear 
evident to such as look, with an attentive eye, to their 
writings and actions. We would willingly except 
from this charge Ambrose and Hiliary, Augustine, 
Gregory, Nazianzen, and Jerome; but truth, which is 
more respectable than these venerable fathers, obliges 
us to involve them in the general accusation." He 
further observes, as translated by Vidal, — "At a time 
when he (Hennas) wrote, it was an established max- 
im with many of the Christians to avail themselves 
of fraud and deception, if it was likely they would 
conduce towards the attainment of any considerable 
good.^^ "And it was considered," says he, again, 
" that they who made it their business to deceive, 
with a view of promoting the cause of truth, were 
deserving rather of commendation than censure !! ^^ 
Honorable men ! Exemplary Christians ! Holy 
Fathers ! 

Listen to the French Protestant, Casaubon : — " It 
mightily aflects me to see how many there were in 
the earliest times of the church who considered it a 
capital exploit to lend to heavenly truth the help of 
their own inventions in order that the new doctrine 
might be received by the wise among the Gentiles. 
These oflicious lies, they said, were devised for a 
good end." Le Clerc, assenting to the opinions of 
Casaubon, observes, "That dissemblers of truth are 
no where to be met with in such abundance as among 
the writers of church history." 



44 



CHARACTER OF THE 



Simon, in his Critical History, vol. 1, page 20, also 
remarks that " \Vc onght not easily to give credit to 
the first originals of churches, (meaning the fathers,) 
every one strives to advance their antiquity as much 
as possible, and they make no scru})le on such occa- 
sions to counterfeit acts when they have none that 
are true." 

Dr. Conyers Middlcton, a distinguished Professor 
at Cambridae, in his able work entitled "A Free Kn- 
qniry into the Miraculous Powers of the Christian 
( 'hurch in the First Three Centuries," has given a 
most elaborate and unanswerable expose of the tricks 
of these "Fathers in God." I refer you to the work 
itself, as it is easily to be obtained. M. Daillc, a man 
Avhose learning and impartiality has never been im- 
y)eached, in Ins celclmUcd work on the " Use of the 
Fathers," plainly says, "We fnid them (the fathers) 
saying things which they did n<d thonsclrcs belicce. 
They are mutually witnesses agnhist cdch other^ that 
they arc not to be believed absolutely on their <m'n 
bare irord.^' In book 1, chap. G, he observes, upon 
the authority of St. Jerome, — " Origen, Methodius, 
FiUsebius, Apollinaris, have written largely against 
Celsus and Porphyry. Do but observe their manner 
of arguing, and what slijypcnj problems they used. — 
They n Urged agahist the (icntiles //o^ what tltcy he- 
livrcd, but what they thought necessary. Jerome 
adds. 1 forbear mentioning the liatin writers, as Tcr- 
tuUian, Cyprian, Minutius, Victorinus, liactantius, 
Hiliary, lest I should rather seem to accuse others, 
than defend myself" Daille says the fathers "made 
no scruple to Jorge t'^hole books ! " His work on the 
" Use of the Fathers," was published in l()2S, and 
translated by T. Smith, of Cambridge ; the translation 
from which these extracts are taken. 

M. Blondell, another learned French Protestant, in 
his Fij)istle to Arnold, 1701, states that there was more 
aversion to lying, more simplicity in adhering to truth, 
and more fidelity, among profane than Chriatlan au- 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



45 



thors. See also Scaliger, Epistle and Casaubon.— - 
Bishop Stillingfleet, Irenerch, page, 206. -Bishop 
Fell, Cypriani, page 53.— Dr. Bennett, Directions lor 
Studying the Thirty-nine Articles, page GO.— Bishop 
Burnett, on the same, Article 8, page lOG.— Selden, 
Notes on Fleta, chap. 5.— Pezron, defence of his book, 
L'Antiquite, des Tems, page 224.— Dr. Jortin's Re- 
marks on Ecclesiastical History.— Dodwelfs Disser- 
tation on Ireneus. — Dr. Chapman, Miscellaneous 
Tracts, pages 191,207; and Dr. Priestley, Disquisi- 
tion on Matter and Spirit, 2nd edition, vol. 1, p. 303, 
Note. I could refer to a host of other authorities, all 
of the hii^hest character, showing the utter dishonesty 
and deception of these " men of ( iod." The following, 
liowcver, must sullice. It is from a periodical accessi- 
ble to all. In the Eclectic Review, of 1814, p. 170, 
is this passage : — " When we consider the number of 
gospels, acts, epistles, revelations, traditions, and con- 
stitutions which were put in circulation during the 
first three centuries, and which arc lUK/afstioitablij 
spurious, we find sulficient reason for examining with 
carc^ and receiving with extreme caution, productions 
attributed to eminent men in the primitive church. — 
Some of the early Christians do not appear to have 
possessed, in some points, a very nice sense of moral 
oblic^^ation. The Avritiug of books under false names, 
and'thc circulating of lables, were not accounted vio- 
lations of duty, or if the impropriety of such coiiduct 
was felt, the end proposed— the promotion of the 
Christian cause— was thought to justify the means 
enii)loycd for its accomplishment." A divine religion, 
truly, that could require, or would ''justify,'' such 
ignoble and dishonest practices) Oh! protect me 
from such " religion ! " 

We will now speak of individual cases of deceit 
and imposture. The preceding rpiotations are only in 
general terms. First, of the lh)ly Father Origen. 
This man had immense uilluence among the Chris- 
tians of his time. He lived in the third century. It 



46 



CIIAKACTER OF THE 



was Origcn who collected our present cnnon of the 
New Testament, and upon whose ipse dixit tlie (onn- 
cil of Laodicea adopted it as the " Word of God." 
What, then, was the character of this person, from 
whom we receive onr present Scriptures 7 hisho[) 
Horsley, in his reply to Priestly, states that Origen 
" was not incajxible of asserting in argument what 
he bohevcd not, and tliat a strict regard to truth in 
disputation was not one of the virtues of his charac- 
ter." The Bishop further remarks, " Time was when 
the practice of using vnjnsiifmhhi means to serve a 
good cnusG was openly avowed, and Ori<(cii /unisvlf 
was atmm<^ its defciidcrs.^^ A fine character this, to 
be one of those upon whose •'authority " we receive 
the Divine Word ! 

Now of Kusebins, the Bishop of Coesarea. Few of 
the ancient fathers are more celebrated than this indi- 
vidual. He is considered a very eminent authority 
among (Jhristians. Tellimont declares, in his Eccle- 
siastical History, a work of 10 volumes, that " With- 
out Husebius we should scarce have had any knowl- 
edge of the history of the lirst ages of Christianity, 
or of the authors who wrote at that time. All the 
(»reek authors of the fourth century, who undertook 
to write the history of the church, have began where 
Kusebius ended, as having nothing considerable to 
add to his labors." What is the character of this man, 
upon whom such dependence is j)laced 7 Why, it is 
as Uononif)lc as his predecessor's. He was one of those 
/to/u'st men who thought falsehood such a convenience 
and such a virtue. In the 12th Book of his " Evan- 
gelical Preparation," he devotes a whole chapter to 
proving that falsehood (nii^ht to be used whenever it 
is rcf/uired ; and he heads the 31st chapter with the 
following question — '' How far it may be proper to 
use falsehood as a 'medicine, and for the benefit of those 
who retpfire to lie deceived'' Strange medicine, this ! 
An admirable bolus, truly, for purging men of their 
virtue and integrity ! In anotlier place Eusebius says 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



47 



of himself—'' I have related whatever might redound 
to the glory ^ and I have suppressed all that could tend 
to tlic disgrace of our religion." 

I am sure the Christian world ought to be much 
obliged to his Reverence, though the justice and hon- 
esty of his conduct is another question. But wliat 
says anodicr Christian of the character of this virtu- 
ous priest 7 Baroiiius, who was a sincere advocate 
of the Christian faith, calls him " die great falsifier 
of Ecclesiastical History — a wily sycophant — a con- 
summate hypocrite — a time-serving persecutor, who 
had nothing in his known life, or writings, to sup])ort 
the belief that he himself believed in the Christian 
system." So much for tlie character of this mai?i 
pillar of the church, without whom we should know 
nothing of the early doings of the " Aiithful." 

Another eminent Christian father was Ireneus, of 
whom I spoke at length in my last discourse, when 
showing he was the first who mentions the four Gos- 
pels. 1 then quoted Dr. Wliitby where he accuses 
him and father Papias "as Iiaving scandalously de- 
luded the world with fables and lyhig narrations." 

Of the celebrated Justin Martyr, Mosheim distinctly 
says, that, " much of what Justin says is wholly un- 
deserving of credit.'''' 

Of the fathers Clement, Alexandria and liactantius, 
the Rev. Mr. Jones, in his " New and Full Method of 
Settling the Canonical Autliority of the New Testa- 
ment," part 2iid, page 34, observes that it was the 
practice with them " to make use of testimonies out 
of forgeries and spiirious boohs ^ to prove the very 
foundation of the Christian revelation. 

St. Jerome, a man who stands very high among 
the early fathers, and author of the Vulgate, or Latin 
Translation of the Bible, — the translation now adopt- 
ed by the Catholics, — very positively declares that — 
" J do not find fault with an error which proceeds 
from a hatred towards the Jews, and a pious zeal for 
the (/hristian faith." (Oper., torn. 4, page li:^.) Ac- 



48 



CHARACTER OF THE 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



49 



cording to this honest priest, if it is only for the benefit 
of rel'iirhm^ an individual may utter as many false- 
hoods as he tlunks proper ! The Bishop of Constan- 
tino])le, Gregory Nazianzen, surnamed the '• Divine/' 
candidly admits to father Jerome, that ^'a little /wi/wM 
is all that is necessary to impose upon the people. — 
The less they comprehend, the more they admire ! 
Our forefathers and doctors of the church have often 
said, not what they thouglit, hut what circumstances 
and necessity dictated to them." Bishop llcliodorous, 
in his Romance of Theagncs and Charieles, modestly 
says, " a falsehood is a g<n)d thing when it aids the 
speaker, and docs no injury to the hearers." And St. 
Syncsius, early iu the fifth century, declared tliat 
" the people were desirous of heing deceived. We 
cannot act otherwise respecting them." 

Indeed, Synesius ! then what are we to think ot 
your religion, whose moral influence is so weak and 
hexihle that when people are unmoral, the only way it 
can adopt to reclaim them, is to make them more im- 
moral / Truly, these are womhrful " saints," strange 
*' amhassadors of God ! " But Syncsius has not done. 
He further declares, and, I must say, very frankly — 
*' For my own ])art, to myself I shall always he a 
])liil()S()pher, hut in dealing with the mass of man- 
kind, 1 shall \)^ ^ priestP There is no douht of it, 
hohj Synesius ! 

As a specimen of the veracity of a very popular 
Christian father, St. Augustine, I need hut state that 
he declares, in his 33rd sermon, and stakes his eternal 
sah-at'ioa on the truth of the "fact," which he said 
iras as true as the gospel, that while he was Bishop 
of Hippo Regius, ho i)rcached the gospel of our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus ( 'hrist, to a whole nation of men 
and women irho had no heads, hut had their eyes in 
their hosoins ; and in countries still more southerly, 
lie preached to a nation amongst whom each individ- 
ual had hut one eye, and that situate hi tlie middle of 
tlie forehead What next I How strange we can 
lind none of the progeny of this singular race ! 



Now for the case of the apostolic father St. Her- 
mas one of the fellow- lahorers of St. Paul. This 
honest man wrote a gospel, from which the following 
passage is taken. St. Hernias exclaims — "O Lord,/ 
7iev€r spake a true word in my life ; but I have al- 
ways lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for 
truth to all men, and no man contradicted me, but all 
gave credit to my words." To which exclamation 
the holy angel to whom Hermas was addressing him- 
self replied, "As the lie was up now, he had better 
keep it up, and, as in time it would come to be be- 
lieved, it would answer as well as truth .' .' " 

Such are the men upon whose veracity the authen- 
ticity and genuineness of our Bible depends ! 

VVere 1 a Christian, 1- should be ashamed to ac- 
knowledge a production with which such characters 
had any connexion. Well do I know with what ex- 
ultation and contempt the Christian world would 
denounce a book issued by the Sceptics, which rested 
its evidence upon the testimony of such unblushing 
impostors. Soon would they exclaim, with all the 
bitter scorn so peculiar to them, "away with such a 
book !" "it is a disgrace to the age! " "an insult to 
religion! " "a libel upon God ! " And w^hy will they 
not do the same with their own book, when they lind 
its evidence resting upon such infamous testimony ? 
O! but I presume their hook is for the "promotion 
of religion ! " 'IMiat alters the case. Being for a 
" good " object, such conduct is deserving rather "of 
commendation than of censure." Behig for the "ben- 
efit of the church," it is an " act of virtue to deceive 
and lie." 

My friends, wliile such morality finds currency 
amongst mankind, well may falsehood and dissimu- 
lation abound. While those are to be found, who can 
assert that a book, resting its evidence upon the testi- 
mony of men who deemed it a " virtue " to indulge 
in such vil(3 artifices, is " divine," the " Word of 
God," the "revealed will" of an omniscient and 

5 






60 



CHARACTER OF THE 



munificent Deity — every impostor may find }iis au- 
thority, and every rogue his ajxjlogy. 

Not only, however, were the Christian fathers a 
race of deceivers and impostors, but we learn from 
Burton's " Expositor," that the practice of uiniatural 
crimes had been so common among the dignitaries of 
the church, that St. Bernard, m a sermon preached 
before the clergy, affirmed sodomy to be so connnon 
in his time, that Ols/io/js with bishopa^ lived in it. At 
the head of this phalanx of " holy men," stood tlie 
Emperor Constantine, — a man under whosQ fosterinir 
care, Christianity first rose to power and dominion. 
And who was he 7 A monster in human form. He 
drowned his wife in boihng water ; put to death his 
son Crispus ; murdered the two husbands of his sis- 
ters, Constantia and Anastasia ; murdered his own 
father-in-law, Maximinian Hercules, and his nephew, 
son of his sister Constantia, a boy of only twelve 
years of age ! And this man was the first royal pat- 
ron of Christianity ! 

This grand system of dissimulation and delusion 
was not confined to the Christian fathers. The apos- 
tles themselves, indulged in the same pious freaks. 
Nay, Christ himself was infected with this corrupt 
principle. From the highest to the lowest, prevari- 
cation and deception seem to have been their ^hnodus 
operandi.^' What says the New Testament itself of 
these notorious personages? We will see — I will 
take Paul and Peter as specimens of the Apostles. 
They were the leaders — the two men without whom 
Christianity would have died in its infancy. 

First, of Paul. — In the 2nd Corinthians, c. 12, v. 16, 
he says, " But be it so, I did not burden you, never- 
theless being crafty, I caught you with guile : " and 
in the 3rd c. of Romans, v. 7, he remarks, " For if 
the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie 
unto his glory, why yet am I also judged as a sin- 
ner? " St. Jerome, the learned Christian father, says 
of tfiis Apostle, in his apology, — " I will produce the 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



51 



example of this Apostle Paul, whom I never peruse 
without thinking that I hear his thundering rather 
than read his words. Consult his epistles, particu- 
larly to the Romans, Galatians, and ifphesians, 
where lie disputes continually. You will see in the 
proofs he borrows from the Old Testament, witli what 
address, what dissimtdation, he manages his subject 
Let us charge this ujion him as a crime, and say to 
him, the testimoincs you have used against the Jews 
and other heretics, have one signification in their 
original, and another in your writings. We see here 
examples forcibly pressed into the service wliich aid 
you in gairfing a victory, but have no force in the 
books from which you have taken tliem." In 1st 
Corinthians, c. D, v. 10 to 22, Paul admits of having 
resorted to the most wholesale system of deception 
and hypocrisy. " For though," says he, '' I be free 
Irom all men, yet have J made myself servant unto 
all that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews, 
1 became as a Jew, to them that are under the law 
as under the law, that I might gain them that are 
under the law. To them that are without law, as 
without law, (being not without law to God. but 
under the law to Christ,) that I might cr^\u them that 
arc without law. To the weak, became I as weak, 
that I might gam the weak ; lam made all things 
to all men, that I might by all means save some.'' 
Indeed ! mighty honest, truly ! In Acts, 9, there is a 
ong and particular account of Paul's visit to Jerusa- 
lem, and his stay among the disciples; while in 
Galatians, c. 1, v. 17, he solemnly swears that he 
did not go! In the account of liis conversion, as 
given in Acts, c. 22, v. 9, Paul says, the men who 
were with him, heard not the voice of him who 
spiike to him, while in c. 9, v. 7, lie says they did. In 
c. 2.^, V. 3, he abuses the High Priest for sitting in 
judgment over him, while in v. 5. (only two verses 
alter wards,) lie pretends not to hnmc him. In c. 22, 
V. 27, lie says, he is a Roman, but in c. 23, v. 6,' 



52 



CHARACTER OF THE 



he declares he is a Pharisee, as his parents before 
him ! Such was honest Paul. Now for honest Peter. 
In Luke, c. 22, v. 54 to 58, I fiud tliis virtuous man 
solemnly dcnynig all connexion with the " divme '' 
personage of whom- he was the senior apostle, and 
with whom he had been in company only a short 
time before ! The passage runs—" Then took they 
Ihm (Christ) and led him, and brought him into tlie 
High Priest's house. And Peter followed afar oil. 
And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the 
hall, and were sat down together, Peter sat down 
among them. But a certain maid belipld him as 
he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, 
and said. This man was also with him. And he 
denied him, saying, Woman, 1 know Inm not. And 
after a little while another saw him, and said, thou 
art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 
An admirable character for a Christian apostle ! ! 

My friends, if 1 am not to be esteemed a Christian 
until 1 believe such prevaricating priests, I shall only 
become one when 1 cease to love truth, and, like the 
Christian fathers, consider it a virtue to deceive and 

*^jesus Christ—I liave said that he, also, was guilty 
of the nnblushing dissimulation which characterizes 
liis i)rincii)al apostles, and the most eminent of their 
successors— the " fathers." In Mark, c. 4, y. 11 and 
12, Christ says, " unto you it is given to know the 
mysteries of the kinsdom of Cod, but unto them that 
are without, all these things are done in parables, that 
seeing, they may see, and not perceive, and hearing, 
they may hear, and not understand, lest at any time 
they should be converted, and their sins should be tor- 
<-iven them." How charitable ! These words, we are 
^old, were uttered by the -Redeemer^' of the world 
—he who was sent to lead the human race from the 
error of their ways, into the fold of truth and ever- 
lasting bliss ! Strange mode to convince mankind ot 
their errors, to allow them to hear and yet not nnder- 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



53 



stand ; and most convenient method certainly to lead 
them to truth by permitting them to see, and yet not 
perceive ! Well might St. Jerome say, in his Apol., 
"our Saviour proposed questions to the Pharisees, 
but he resolved none. The crowd hear our parables 
—the disciples our truth ! " 

In John, c. 7, v. 8, we read of Christ resorting to 
a prevarication, so nearly approaching a lie, that I 
should esteem it a favor if you could show me the 
diiference. " Co ye up unto this feast," says he, " 1 
go not up yet unto this feast, for my time is not yet 
fully come. When he had said these words unto 
them, he abode still in Calilee. But when his breth- 
ren were gone up, then went he also up unto the 
feast, not openly, but as it were in secret." The 
priesthood, aware of the direct falsehood that would 
otherwise be manifest, have taken care to foist in the 
word oupo^ instead of onk. Tiie true reading is, I 
shall not go up unto this feast. Griesbach. the latest 
and the most approved of the editors of the New Tes- 
tament, has settled this (piestion beyond controversy. 
He has ascertained the authenticity of ouk^ and 
adopted it. Thus ( 'hrist says to his disciples, I shall 
not go, and yet, when they are out of sight, he does 
go, and that, too, hy stealth I What disgusting and 
puerile deception! IN'o wonder the "holy lathers" 
were such admirable " disciples ! " 

I have now carefully reviewed the character of the 
Christian Fathers and Apostles. t will ask you, as 
impartial persons, if I have not triumpliantly estab- 
lished the truth of my allegations, and that^ too, on 
Christian authority ? 

It is now necessary I should proceed to the latter 
portion of my address. I purpose to show that even 
supposing our remarks in reference to the fathers, from 
whom we receive the Scriptures, were incorrect, we 
are still not justified in accepting the Bible, as they 
offer it to us, as the true '' Word of God." And why \ 
Because they have so altered it to suit their conven- 

5* 



54 



CHARACTER OT THE 



ience — to promote party or sectarian purposes, that 
there is no possibility of detecting the genuine from 
the spif?ious. And lience the Bible, as we now read 
it, is as hkely to lead us /row, as to the truth, and 
therefore altogether inoperative for the great purpose 
for which it is designed — the salvation of mankind. 

The first authority I shall adduce in corfirmation 
of this opinion, is Professor Michaelis. He considers 
that ''no one will deny that the early Ohrisiians, who 
diflcred from the ruling church, have altered the New 
Testament in numerous examples, according to their 
peculiar tenets," and ''so much so," says the Rev. 
Mr. Nolan, in his Inquiry, page 460, " that little con- 
fidence could be placed in anij edition." The Rev. 
']\ 11. Ilorne, admits in the 2nd vol. of his Introduc- 
tion to the Scriptures, second edition, that all M.S.S., 
the most ancient not excepted, have erasures and 
corrections ] nor was tliis practice confined to a single 
letter or word. The Rev. Mr. Pope, in his treatise on 
the '• Miraculous Conception," affirms that "the Cam- 
bridge and the Alexandrian M.S.S. s^varin with cor- 
ruptions and interpolations.'''^ Celsus, says Or i gen, 
charges the early fathers with having three or fotir 
dilTcrent readings for the same text, or as he express- 
es it, " they altered the Gospel three or four different 
times, as if they were dntnk, and when pressed by 
their adversaries, recurred to that read'ing which best 
sii'Ued the'ir j)urpose ! ^^ Origen himself admits, says 
Du Pin, " there is a great discrepaiicy between the 
copies, which must be attributed either to the negli- 
'gence of the scribes, or to the audacious perversions 
of others, or to those who correct the text by arbitrary 
tidditions or omissions, who oftentimes have put in 
niid left out as they thought it most convenient." — 
Here we are told by one of the fathers themselves, 
that matters were "put in or left out" of the Bible, 
just "as it was most convenient." This shows how 
much we have to depend upon the fathers for the cor- 
rectness of the Word of God. Du Pin remarks, and 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



55 



he is a very high authority, as I observed on a former 
occasion : — " It cannot be said that no fault has crept 
into the Scriptures by the negligence or inadvertency 
of the transcribers, or even by the boldness of those 
who have ventured to strike out, add or change some 
words which they thought necessary to be omitted, 
added, or changed." Necessary^ indeed! Then we 
must believe that God had said that which he ought 
not to have said, and omitted saying that which he 
ought to have done, or in otlier words, priests know 
better than God, what should be in the Bible ! What 
next? 

But, my friends, listen, I entreat you, to the words 
of James, the Librarian of the University of Oxforil, 
a warm partisan of Protestantism. In his work on 
the " Corruption of the Scriptures," page 272, he says, 
" let us pass a step or two further, and inquire wheth- 
er they have not corrupted the Bible in like sort, or 
worse rather, if it be possible, a degree of imjnety 
beyond the degrees of compar'ison^ and yet so plainly 
to be proved against the Papists, as he that hath but 
one eye to see, shall plainly discover it, and thence be 
induced to suspect the abomination of desolation spok- 
en of by Daniel the prophet, sitting in the holy place, 
and admiring himself as it were above the Holy of 
Holies. He shall observe infinite varieties^ contrarie- 
t'les, and contradictions^ and oppositions between two 
Bibles set forth by two Popes, within tiao years ; both 
commanded to be read and followed upon such forms 
as are mentioned in the briefs. You shall see the 
Popes breathe hot and cold, say and u?isay the same 
thing twice, and, in fine, they have truly verified the 
Bible to be a 'nose of wax ! plied and wrought uito 
fashion for their own advantage. A sham,e it is that 
any Christian should presume to add, or take away 
aught from the Word of God ; yet, O ! intolerable 
fraud, not any simple Christian or layman, but the 
Bishop of Rome, chief pastor of the church, sole judge 
of all controversies, whose lips should preserve knowl- 



56 



CHAKACTER OF THE 



edge, and his tongue speak no deceit, hath audacious- 
ly presumed to add and take whole sentences^ to change 
the words of the holy writ, info a clear contrary mccni- 
ing, to make as it were wJtite blacky and black vhite ! " 

This practice of altering the Bihle to suit party 
purposes, is hy no means confined to ancient times, — 
to tlie first four centuries of the Christian era. It has 
been adopted by the learned of every sect to the [)res- 
ent day. They have well followed the example of 
the holy fathers, though, unfortunately for them, the 
printing press now tends to curb such audacious pro- 
pensities. 

The Rev. Mr. Cooper, in his "^IVacts, page /)21, says 
distinctly, — •'* Were a Socinian to make a new trans- 
lation, he would translate imdcr the guidance of his 
Socinian opinions, and properly." This is actually 
saying, when a person translates the Bible, he need 
not adhere to the real text, but give what interpreta- 
tion he thinks proper. Oh ! ye pious translators, how 
we must admire your honesty ! 

This is the charge which the Christian sects bring 
against one another — that they have altered the word 
of God to suit their peculiar opinions, and not adhered 
to the original. If so, we must concur with the Rev. 
Mr. Nolan, that we cannot depend upon any one of 
thcni. 

To preclude the possibility of your supposing that 
I am desirous of giving you mere assertion without 
proof, I shall here quote from some of the leading 
sects. Hitherto, during the whole of this course, 1 
have given you my authorities for every affirmation I 
have made. I shall continue to do so to the close. 

Dr. Jones, in the Monthly RepositorJ^ for 1S26, (the 
Unitarian organ) says that "Trinitarians never have 
referred, nor never will refer to a single place through- 
out the whole Testament which could ever suggest the 
idea of the doctrine of three persons in one essence be- 
sides the controverted verse, the 7th of 1st John, c. 5." 

We arc told, in the celebrated Unitarian Reply to 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



57 



Magee, published in 1813, that this text is " an impi- 
ous forgery," and, " it appears to be little less than 
blasphemy to retain it in a book which is represented 
to be inspired." Similar charges arc made by the 
Unitarians against all the verses in the first chap, of 
Luke after the 1th. The whole of the second chap, 
is denounced as " spurious," and only " to serve the 
purposes of certain sects." The same with the first 
of Matthew, after the 17th verse; and the whole of 
the second. These passages inculcate the doctrine of 
miraculous conception, which is denied by the l^nita- 
rians. 

The Rev. Dr. Campbell, in the introduction to his 
translation of the- Scrii)tures, makes some strong re- 
marks upon lieza, who published the edition of the 
Greek Testament from which our modern English 
version is taken : — " Mere we have a man," says he, 
*'who, in effect, acknowledges that he would not have 
translated some things in the way he has done, if it 
wore not that he could thereby strike a severer blow 
against his adversaries, or ward oil* a blow whicli an 
adversary might aim against him!" How conven- 
ient this Bible is, truly ! 

The celebrated Methodist, Dr. Adam Clarke, in his 
Commentary on the Bible, protests against those pas- 
sages ill the third chapter of Genesis, which declare 
that Eve was tempted by a serpent. He asserts it 
was a monkey^ and not a serpent that lemj)ted her.— 
A monkey J indeed ! a most bewitching animal to tempt 
any one ! 

Mr. Bellamy declares that the story in the Old 
Testament about Balaam and his ass is a complete 
misinterpretation, and ought to be "immediately re- 
vised." He concludes his remarks upon this subject 
as follows : — " Really, it is time y^ou should get rid of 
such childish notions. To say any more on such ab- 
surd conclusions would be a waste of time. Depend 
upon it, that, whatever they may do noiv^ asses never 
spoke in the day^s of Balaam." 



68 



CHARACTER OF THE 



1 could detain yoii, my friends, for lionrs, showing 
that alterations have been^ or to behevc some theolo- 
gians, ought to 6e, made in the Word of God, but suf- 
fice it to say, as time is now far advanced, that 
according to the Unitarian verison, there are no less 
than 150,000 readings of the Scriptures, all of which 
arc more or less different. And this book, about 
which such innumerable and serious differences exist, 
and that, too, against the most learned of our race, is 
the onhj book which is to guide us to everlasting 
trutli and joy ! I am apprehensive it will prove a 
blind guide, for if there are so many contradictory 
readings as declared by the Unitarians, it will be 149,- 
999 to 1 if we have the right one. Who will run the 
risk of eternal salvation or damnation at such odds? 

But It may be said, people can exert their own in- 
tellect upon the matter, and judge for themselves. 
The Bible, they say, is so self-evident that none but 
an abandoned Infidel could mistake it. It is so pal- 
pable that " any one who runs may read, and so 
reading, fully comprehend." Not so, my friends. 
Michaehs says, in his Introduction to the New Testa- 
ment, " No man is capable of understanding the New 
Testament, imless, to an acquamtance with the 
Greek he joins a knowledge of at least Hebrew, 
Syriac, and Rabbinic." Professor Campbell asserts, 
*' that the Hebrew and Greek are absolutely neces- 
sary to him who is desirous of ascertaining the 
genuine meaning of the sacred volume." He further 
remarks, " To understand the Scriptures we should 
get acquainted with each writer's style. 2nd. In- 
quire carefidly into their character, ofiice, and situ- 
ation, and the time, place, and occasion of their 
writing, and the people for whose use they wrote. 
3rd. Consider the scope, <fcc., of the book. 4th. 
Where the phrase is obscure, consult the context: 
this will not always answer. 5th. If not, consider 
if it be any of the writer's peculiarities, if so, inquire 
what is the acceptation of it in other places. 6th. 



CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND APOSTLES. 



69 



If this fail, have recourse to parallel passages. 7th, 
If this fail, consult the Old Testament and Septua- 
gint, where the word may be used : 8th, and the 
classic writers : 9th, and the Fathers : 10th, and the 
ancient version, modern scholiasts, annotators, and 
translators: 11th, the analogy of faith, and the ety- 
mology of words, which must be used with caution." 
In addition to these, or similar general rules, the Rev. 
Mr. Home, in his Introduction to the Scriptures, fur- 
nishes us with ten rules for investigating the original 
meaning of Scripture words, five for that of emphasis, 
with which the Scripture abounds, and eight for par- 
allelisms, of which three kinds are specified; then 
seven rules for discovering the sense by the subject 
niatter, and by the context, and seven more for 
discovering it by historical circumstances, including 
ten particulars, such as the order, title, date, author, 
place where written, chronology, occasion, scope, an- 
alysis, biblical antiquities, (fee. ! Then for investigat- 
ing the scope itself, six rules, and for the analogy of 
faith, eight ! Then again for the historical interpre- 
tation, seven rules : for the interpreting of figurative 
language, twelve ; one of which rules is, that '' the 
literal meaning of the words is to be given up, if it 
be improper, or involve an impossibility, or is con- 
trary to common sense ! " 

Then, in addition to all these rules, numerous 
others are given for interpreting the four kinds of 
metonymies occurring in Scripture; others for the 
metaphors ; others for the allegories, the parables, the 
proverbs, the figures, and the spiritual interpretations. 
Then comes a great variety for interpreting ^he 
prophecies, the types, legal^ prophetical, and histori- 
cal, and no fewer than twenty-two for the interpret- 
ing of doctrines ! ! And yet we are told that the 
Bible is self-evident ! Very ; for a man may live a 
life-time before he can understand it, and then, after 
all, may be mistaken ! Well may they say, that 
^' narrow is the way that leadeth to everlasting life, 
and few there be that find it ! " 



60 



CHARACTER OF THE CHRISTIAN FATHERS. 



The author of " The Protestant's Progress '* oh- 
serves — " The disposition of our four gospel- writers 
to exaggeration, may be seen exemplified in that 
enormous hyperbole with which John concludes his 
narrative — that ' the whole world could not contain 
the volumes that might be filled with the exploits of 
Jesus.' A man who could hazard such an asser- 
tion, is capable of asserting anything. Unfortunately 
mankind are more credulous and dogmatical in their 
religious belief than on any other subject; since no 
man of sound judgment would believe such improb- 
able stories on evidence so doubtful, in any of the 
ordinary affairs of life. Had Jesus been really God 
Almighty or an emissary from God, he would surely 
not have permitted such contemptible productions to 
be circulated as an authentic and inspired account of 
his ministry on earth, while promulgating the grand 
and indispensable scheme of Redemption. Dr. Isaac 
Watts most judiciously remarks that " there have 
been so many falsehoods imposed upon mankind, 
with specious pretences of eye and ear-witnesses, that 
should make us wisely cautious and justly suspicious 
of such reports, where the concurrent signs of truth 
do not fairly appear, and especially where the matter 
is of considerable importance. And the less probable 
the fact testified in itself, the greater evidence may 
we justly demand of the veracity of that testimony 
on which it claims to be admitted." 



LECTURE FOURTH. 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



Friends — 

I APPEAR this evening to deliver our fourth address 
on the Divinity of the Bible. In our first two dis- 
courses I gave a brief history of the Old and New 
Testament, tracing the subject from the earliest to the 
most recent times. In our last, I considered a ques- 
tion intimately and inseparably connected with that 
history — the Character of the Christian Fathers in 
whose hands the Bible originally reposed, and upon 
whose ipse dixit we receive it as the " Word of 
God." We now proceed to discuss other portions of 
this interesting and extensive subject. 

Modern theologians divide Christian evidences into 
two parts — External and Internal. We shall only 
deal with the former on this occasion. The external 
evidence in favor of the Scriptures is a favorite theme 
with the generality of Christians. They usually re- 
sort to this topic when forced to debate the question. 

Not wishing to be drawn into the internal evidence, 
or. at least, those portions which refer to the obscen- 
ities, the immoralities, discrepancies, and absurdities, 
they endeavor to conceal their weakness, and delude 
the multitude, by an ostentatious display of learning. 
They tell them this " memorable " historian, that 
"immortal" author, this "great man," contempora- 
neous with, or immediately subsequent to, the early 
Christians, made ''honorable mention" of Christ, 

6 



I 



62 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



and Christianity, and thence infer the Christian 
scheme is divhie. 

Popular though this mode of determining the divin- 
ity of Scripture undoubtedly is, its unsatisfactory and 
fallacious character is apparent. Such evidence is 
manifestly incompetent to decide the truth of any 
doctrine or system. Before testimony of this nature 
can be received as coiichisive it must be shown, in the 
first place, that these writers were " inspired '^ or 
infallible. If they were in the Icasl degree liable to 
err, their testimony, on a question of this kind, must 
be received with consummate circumspection, if it be 
not altogether rejected. Were the whole of the ex- 
ternal evidence usually adduced by the Christian 
world unquestionably true. I still maintain they have 
not established the divinity of their book. If it can 
be proved that the Bible contains absolute falsehoods, 
contradictions, and immoralities, (as will be shown 
in subsequent lectures,) all the external evidence in 
the world is of no avail. No external evidence can 
make that true which is palpably false — that consist- 
ent which is grossly Incoyisistent^ or that moral which 
is manifestly immoral. The insufficiency, therefore, 
of this evidence to decide the question at issue, is 
obvious. Dr. Middleton, a distinguished divine of 
the last century, though an eminent exponent of 
Christianity, admirably remark's, — " Examining the 
external evidence is certainly losing time, and begin- 
ning at the wrong end, since it is allowed on all 
hands that if any narration can be shown to be false, 
any doctrine irrational and immoral, 'tis not all the 
external evidence in the world that can, or ovfjrht to 
convuice us that such a doctrine comes from God.'' 
The celebrated Dr. Vcscimus Knox also confesses, in 
his Christian Philosophy, that " It is certain that the 
argumentative mode of addressing unbelievers, and a 
reliance upon external evidence, has hitherto failed, 
and will never convince them. Notwithstanding the 
stupendous labors of the writers of evidences, con- 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



63 






tinned with little intermission, the great cause which 
they maintain is on tlie decline. Many of the most 
learned and able men of modern times, who were 
capable of understanding the historical, logical, and 
metaphysical defences of Christianity, have read 
them without conviction, and laughed at their labo- 
rious imbecility ! " John Wesley, the founder of 
Methodism, is also obliged to admit tiiat " traditional 
evidence for Christianity is of an extremely compli- 
cated nature, necessarily including so many and so 
various considerations, that only men of strong and 
clear understanding can be sensible of its full force." 
(Letter to Warburton, p. 108.) Such is the uncer- 
tain, dubious, and unsatisfactor)^ nature of external 
evidence, as admitted by Christians themselves. 

1 now proceed to show, however, that the external 
evidence which they do adduce, is, in many instan- 
ces, completely spurious, in some so questionable as 
to be utterly inadmissible, and in others tells against 
rather than for the Christian system. 

Before I enter upon the subject. I deem it advisable 
to name the profane authors who flourished during 
the first two centuries of the Christian era. Those 
who are said to have mentioned Christianity are the 
following: Josephus, a. d. 40, (see Jewish Antiqui- 
ties) ; Pliny, a. d. 107, (sec letter to Trajan) ; Seuto- 
nius, A. D. 110, (see Lives of Nero and Claudius) ; 
Tacitus, A. D. 110, (see Annals) ; Adrian, a. d. 138, 
(see Epistle to Scrvianus) ; Lucianus, a. d. 17G, (see 
Dialogue on the Death of Peregrinus) ; Cclsus, a. d. 
17G, (see Essay on the True Word, as quoted by 
Origen.) Those who are supposed only to have al- 
luded to Christians are — Dio Pruseus, a. d. 98 ; 
Martialis, a. d. 100; Juvenalis, a. d. 100; Epictetus, 
A. d. 109; Arrianus, a. d. 140; Lucius Apuleius, a. d. 
164; Aristides, a. d. 176. 

Those writers who would be likely to refer to the 
Christians, but who have not done so, are — Philo, a. d. 
40 ; Pliny, the elder, a. d. 79 ; Seneca, a. d. 79 ; Diog. 



64 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



enes Laertius, a. d. 79 ; Pausanias, a. d. 79 ; Pompon 
Mela, A. D. 79 ; Appiaiius, a. d. 123 : Justinius, a. d. 
140; and Elianns, a. d. 141. Those who were less 
likely to alkide to the Christians, and did not do so, 
are — Lucanus, a. d. 63; Petronius Arbiter, a. d. 64; 
ItaUcus, A. D. 64 ; M. Lncanus, a. d. 65 ; Flaccns, a. d. 
65 ; Papinus Statins, a. d. 90 ; and Ptolemajns, a. d. 
130. 

In this discussion we have only to consider those 
writers who arc actually said to have meniioned Chris- 
tianity. In reference to the rest, I may just remark 
that it is a very suspicious circumstance they should 
remain silent upon the subject. Some of them were 
the greatest writers of antiquity, and could not possi- 
bly have omitted noticing all extraordinary events. — 
If Christ and his discij)lcs, therefore, performed such 
wonders as asserted by their modern followers, why 
are they not noticed, i'avorably or unfavorably, by 
these distinguished historians? Philo, the most emi- 
nent historian of the first century, and contemporary 
with Christ, gives an elaborate account of the state of 
the Jews, and their alllictions under Augustus, Tibe- 
rius, and Cains Caligula, — the very period embracing 
the whole extent of Christ's life, but makes not the 
slightest allusion to Christianity, either in contempt 
or otherwise. This "great fact" is more remarkable 
when we remember that Philo was sent by tlie Jews 
as aml)assador to Rome, only eight years after the 
death of Christ. Nay, there is every reason to believe 
if such a person as Christ was crucified, it must have 
been at tiie very time Philo was at Jerusalem. The 
silence of this great historian, living, as lie did, at the 
very time of Christ, and in the very place in which 
his miracles arc said to have been performed, together 
with the taciturnity of other eminent v/ritcrs, is con- 
clusive proof that the pretensions of Christians to the 
divine inllucncc of their master, arc perfectly gratui- 
tous. 

With respect to those writers who are said to have 



) 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



65 



mentioned Christ and his disciples, the first in order 
is that of the famous Jewish historian, Josephus. — 
This great man was born in the year 37, and died 
during that of 93. Tlie passage in which he is rep- 
resented as alluding to Christ, will be found in his 
"Jewish Antiquities." It is as follows: — "At tliat 
time lived Jesus, a wise man, if he may he called a 
man ; for he performed many wonderful works, lie 
was the teacher of such men as received the truth 
with pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews and 
Gentiles. This was the Christ. And when Pilate, 
at the instigation of the chief men amongst us, had 
condemned him to the cross, they, who before had 
conceived an afFection for him, did not cease to adhere 
to him. Por on the third day he appeared to them 
alive ag-aijij the divine prophets having foretold these 
and many wonderful things respecting him ; and the 
sect of the Christians, so-called from him, subsists to 
this dayy This passage, so strikingly in favor of the 
Christian system, and so highly and so exultingly 
prized by Christians, is beyond all question the most 
impudent interpolation ever foisted into tlie writings 
of any author. It is an absolute and unqualified /<y/- 
gcry. It is supposed to have been introduced into the 
writings of Josephus about the fourth century, as it is 
not mentioned before that time. The man who was 
the first to disseminate such an infamous imposition 
was the Christian Father and historian Eusebius. — 
This conduct is quite in consonance with the charac- 
ter I gave of iiim in my last discourse. Tranquil 
Faber, a distinguished Christian critic, was the first 
to accuse that pious rogue of this forgery. The fol- 
lowing (piotation from the second book, chapter 12, of 
Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, will give you an 
idea of the singular ifitcgrity of this " Holy Father," 
and the deliberate, unblushing audacity with which 
he refers to this passage, which he himself wrote, and 
not Josephus: — "Now, when, as this historiographer, 
(meaning Josephus) by blood an Hebrew born, hath 

6* 



66 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



of old delivered in writing these, and the like things 
concerning John the Baptist, and our Saviour Christ, 
what refuge or shift now have they, but that they be 
condemned as impudent persons^ which of their own 
brain have fained commentaries contrary to these al- 
legations?" It is evident Eusebius practiced this 
forgery, thinking that Josephus's great name might 
have its influence in silencing the enemies of Cliristi- 
anity. Well might he inquire " hoio far falsehood 
might he used as a mediciyie ! " Dr. Lardncr, admit- 
ting the anxiety of the Christians to obtani the testi- 
mony of this learned Jew, says, vol. 1, page IGG, of 
his Jewish and Heathen testimonies, — " They (the 
Fathers) were fond of having his testimony, whether 
there was ground for it or not." Modest and honest 
Christians, truly ! We find that immediately after 
the period of Eusebius, this notorious forgery was 
adduced as a "glorious" proof of the divinity of 
Christianity! The fathers Jerome, Isedorus, Zozo- 
men, and Calistus were remarkably ambitious of 
holding it up as a silencer to all sceptics and unbeliev- 
ers. No one could doubt the divinity of Christ after 
it had been admitted by so great an historian as Jose- 
phus ! I am happy to say, however, the more enlight- 
ened of the clergy of modern times are ashamed of 
the tricks of their pious predecessors, and silently 
abandon the evidence of Joscphus. Faber, as before 
stated, repudiated it long ago. Pishop Warburton 
disowns it with contempt. He shrewdly observes, as 
quoted by Dr. Lardncr, vol. 1, page 103, — " If a Jew 
owned the truth of Christianity, he must needs embrace 
it. We, therefore, certainly conclude, that the para- 
graph where Joscphus, who was as much a Jew as 
the religion of iMoses could make him, is made to ac- 
knowledge Jesus as the Christ, in as strong terms as 
words could do' it, is a rank forgery^ and a very stupid 
oiie ioo.^^ Le Clcrc, Du Pin, Blondcl, Vandale, and 
Lardncr, have also repudiated this passage; and Gib- 
bon, in his " Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



67 



I 



I 



denounces it as " no vulgar forgery." Dr. Lardner, 
indeed, has entered into an elaborate and laborious 
refutation of this leputed testimony of Joscphus. His 
reasoning is most masterly and unanswerab e, and 
completely settles the question. I give you a brief 
extract. In vol. 1, chap. 4, and page 150, of his well 
known and voluminous work, he remarks, — "This 
passage is received by many learned men as genuine. 
By others, it is rejected as an interpolation. It is 
allowed on all hands that it is in all the copies of Jo- 
sephus's works, now extant, both printed and manu- 
script. Nevertheless, it may be, for several reasons, 
called in question. They are such as these : — This 
paragraph is not quoted nor referred to by any Chris- 
tian writer before Eusebius, who flourished at the 
beginning of the fourth century. If it had been orig- 
inally in the works of Joscphus, it would have been 
highly proper to produce it in their disputes with Jews 
and Gentiles. But it is never quoted by Justin Mar- 
tyr, or Clement, of Alexandria, nor by Tertuilian, or 
Origen, men of great learning, and well acquainted 
with the works of Joscphus. It was certainly very 
proper to urge it against the Jews. It might also have 
been fitly alleged against the Gentiles. A testimony 
so favorable to Jesus in the works of Joseplnis, who 
lived so soon after our Saviour, who was so well ac- 
quainted with the transactions of his own country, 
Avho had received so many favors from Vespassian 
and Titus, would not be overlooked or neglected by 
any Christian apologist. Tliis passage was wanting 
in the copies of Joscphus which were seen by Photius 
in the ninth century — I make a distinct article of this 
writer because he read and revised the works of Josc- 
phus as a critic. — He has, in his Bibliotheque, no less 
than three articles concerning Josephus, but takes no 
notice of this passage. Whence it may be concluded 
that it was wanting in his copies, or that he did not 
think it genuine. But the former is more likely. — 
This paragraph concerning Jesus interrupts the course 



68 



EXTERxNAL EVIDENCE. 



of the narrative, and, therefore, is not genuine, bnt an 
interpolation. In tlie preceding paragraph, Joseplius 
gives an account o{ an attempt of Pilate to bring 
water from a distant place to Jerusalem, with the 
sacred money, which occasioned a disturbance, in 
whicli many of the Jews were killed, and many 
others were wounded. The paragraph next follow- 
ing this about which we are now speaking, begins 
thus — ' And about the same time, another sad calam- 
ity gave the Jews great uneasiness. That calamity 
was no less than banishing the Jews from Rome, by 
order of the Kmperor Tiber ins, occasioned, as he 
says, by the misconduct of some Jews in that city.' 
This j)aragraph, therefore, was not originally in Jo- 
sephus ; it does not come from liim, bnt is an interpo- 
lation inserted by somebody afterwards." Such is 
the powerful and irrefutable reasoning of that learned 
Christian, whose argumeiits to this day remain un- 
invalidated. Some Christian writers have maintained 
thai Josephus must have noticed Christ ; but the 
Jews had suppressed all such passages, which spoke 
favorably of him. This, however, is an inadmissi])le 
supposition, since it is well known that Josephns 
pid)lished his works out of the reach of his country- 
men, while residing at Rome, and living under the 
si)ecial protection of the Roman l^^mperors. If he 
did speak of Christ, we may reasonably snppose it 
wonld be in contempt, as Josephus remained all his 
life-time sincerely attached to the Jewish religion, 
and shows himself, in the whole course of his work, 
a zealons follower of the law of Moses. But there is 
no passage in the earlier copies of Josephus, favora- 
ble or unfavorable, in reference to Christ, as stated 
by Bigen and other ancient Christian writers, who, 
having attentively perused all the works of Josephus, 
express their surprise at not having found the slight- 
est mention made of Jesns Christ. Jf, then, the 
testimony of Josephus is to be given np, the main 
prop to Christian evidence is annihilated. The 



A 



ii' 



4* 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



60 



Christian world have no authority in confirmation of 
their pretensions during the first cetUury — the very 
time when aidhority is granting. 

This universal silence, therefore, at a time so pe- 
culiarly and pre-eminently imj)ortant, incontestably 
proves that the Christian system has no more author- 
ity to be divine, than the rest of the religions of the 
world. 

We now come to remark upon the next writer who 
is alleged to have mentioned Christianity, viz., l^liny 
the younger, a distinguished Roman Author and 
proconsulate. The reference which this celebrated 
character is stated to have made to this system, will 
be found in his letttu* to Trajan, Emperor of Rome, 
written during the year a. d. 110. It commences — 

" Pliny, to the Emperor Trajan, wisheth health 
and happiness : — 

"Sir — It is my constant method to apply myself to 
you for the resolution of all my doubts; for who can 
Ixnter govern my dilat<3ry way, or instruct my igno- 
rance ? 1 have never been present at the examina- 
tion of Christians, (by others,) on which account I 
am unacquainted with what usages to be iiKpiired 
into, and what and how far they used to be pun- 
ished; nor are my doubts small, whether there be not 
a distinction to be made between the ages of the 
accused, and wliether tender youth ought to have the 
same punishment with strong men 7 whether there be 
not room for pardon on repentance 7 or whether it 
may not be an advantage to one that had been a 
Christian, that he has forsaken Christianity 7 whether 
the bare name without any crimes besides, or the 
crime adhering to that name, be to be punished 7 
In the meantime I have taken this course about 
those who have been brought before me as Christ- 
ians : 1 asked them whether they were Christians 
or not. If they confessed that they were Christians, 
I asked them again, and a third time, intermixing 
threatnings with the (questions; if they persevered in 



70 



EXTEliNAL EVlDJiNCE. 



/ 



their confession, I ordered them to be executed, for I 
did not doubt, let their confession be of any sort 
whatsoever, this positiveness and inflexible obstinacy 
deserved to be punislied. There have been some of 
this inad sect that I took notice of in particular as 
Roman citizens, that they might be sent to that city. 
After some time, as is usual on such examinations, 
the crime spread itself, and many more cases came 
before me. A libel was sent, though without an 
autlior, containing many names (of persons accused.) 
These denied that they were Christians now, or 
ever had been. They called upon the Gods, and 
supplicated to your image, which 1 caused to be 
brought to me for that purpose, with frankincense 
and wine; tliey also cursed Christ, none of which 
things, as it is said, can any of those who are really 
('hristians be compelled to do ; so 1 thought fit to let 
them go. Others of them that were named in the 
libel, said they were Christians, but had ceased to be 
some three years, some many more ; and one there 
was that said he had not been so these twenty years. 
All these worshipped your image, and the image of 
our Cods ; these also cursed Christ. However, they 
assured me tliat the main of their fault, or of their 
mistake, was this, — that they were woiit^ on a stated 
day^ to meet together before it was light^ and to sing 
a hymn to Christy as to a God^ alternately ; and to 
oblige themselves by a sacrament, (or oath,) not to 
do anything that was ill, that they would commit no 
theft, or pilfering, or adultery ; that they would not 
break their promises, or deny what was deposited 
with them when it was required back again ; after 
which It was their custom to depart, and to meet 
again at a common but innocent meal, which yet 
they had left oil upon that edict which I published 
at your command, and wherein I had forbidden any 
sucli conventicles. These examinations made me 
think it necessary to inquue by torments what the 
truth was, which 1 did of two servant maids, winch 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



7\ 



were called deaconesses, but still I discovered no more 
than that they ivere addicted to a bad and an extrava- 
gant superstition. Hereupon I have put off any 
further examination and have recourse to you, for 
the affair seems to l)e well worth consultation,' es- 
pecially on account of the number of tliose that are 
in danger; for there are many of every age and 
every rank, and of both sexes, which are now and 
hereafter likely to be called to account, and to be in 
danger; for this superstition is spread like a conta- 
gion, not only into the cities and towns, but into 
country villages also, Avhich yet there is reason to 
hope may be stopped and corrected. To be sure, tlie 
temples, which are almost forsaken, begin already to 
be frequented ; and the holy solemnities, which were 
long intermitted, begin to be revived. The sacrifices 
begin to sell well everywhere, of which very few 
purchasers Iiad of late appeared; whereby it is easy 
to suppose how great a multitude of men may be 
amended, if place for repentance be admitted." 

I have given the whole of this letter, though 
tediously long, in order that no parties may presume 
I am anxious to suppress the real facts of the case. 
Ihe Christian champions are much elated when 
adducing Plmy's evidence. They think it conclusive, 
liut what say the more enlightened] The German 
literati have long been of opinion that this letter is a 
forgery. They maintain it is found in one ancient 
copy only, and not in the rest. 

Dr. J. S. Seinler, of Leipsic, one of the most learned 
of the German professors, adduces nine arguments 
against the authenticity of this letter. His celebrated ^ 
work appeared in 1788. It is entitled '' Neue Ver- " 
suche die Kircheuhistorie der ersten Jahrunderte mehr 
aufzuklaren." His arguments upon this subject will 
be found, vol. 1, page 119 to 246. Semler was strong- 
ly supported by Corrodi, in his treatise entitled, 
" Beytrage zur Beforderung des vernunftigen Den- 
kens 111 der Religion." The main argument the 



r2 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



73 



Christians allcsc in favor of the authenticity of this 
letter is, that ir is cited hy TertuUian and Ensehius, 
and that Aldin considers the MS. containing it, 
nearly as old as Pliny. Now Tertnllian and Knsebi- 
us were both guilty of pions frauds, especially the 
latter, and, moreover, books at that time were not 
printed, but written. Every copy was a new edition, 
in which the transcriber might make what aUerations 
he thought tit, few people, comparatively, possessing 
them. The age of TertuUian, or a little belore it, 
was notoriously the age of Christian forgery. Nor 
was there any more dimciilty in the interj)olation of 
this letter than in the interpolations in Josephus and 
Longinus, which, till withm tliis last century, have 
been successfully palmed upon the Christian world. 
At present, indeed, when the character of the fathers 
of the church, and their propensity to lying and 
forgery is universally known and acknowledged, no 
clergyman of eminence will venture to defend these 
passages. During tlie century intervening between 
Fhny^lhc younger and Tertulhan— that is, between 
113 and 210, a. d.,— there was time enough, and 
opportunity enough, to propagate the forged copies of 
VViny. and we well know there existed the disposi- 
tion, it being esteemed ''a virtue to deceive and lie.'* 
The circumstances, then, which lead an enlightened 
and unprejudiced inquirer to reject the boasted tesli- 
mony of this celebrated scholar, are— the undeniable 
fact that the first Christians were the greatest forgers 
that ever existed— that it was not tlie ignorant and 
vulgar, but the best scliolars who practiced these 
forgeries — that religious persecution was inconsistent 
witli tlie just and philosophic character of the Roman 
government— that so moral and amiable a |)eople as 
the primitive (liristians are represented by l/icir fol- 
lowers, could not have l>een the fa\st to provoke the 
Roman government to depart from its univei*sal max- 
im of toiciation and mdiirerence,— that such persecu- 
♦ioii was quite mcuusibiLUl with the humane and 



^1 



dignified character of Pliny — that it is unreasonable 
to suppose Christians wtu'c found in so remote a 
province as Bithynia, ere they had acquired any 
notoriety in Rome — the singular fact that the passage 
in question was found in otic ancient copy onlij, and 
not in the rest — the declaration of the German I'Ucr- 
ati, the most learned men in the world, that this 
epistle is not genuine — the unquestionable fact that 
'rertullian and Eusebins, the authorities in favor of 
its genuineness, were notoriously Uam and impos- 
lors! The followiiig, however, is the main objection 
to the genuineness of this letter. I hold it to be 
conclusive. Pliny is made to say to Trajan, that the 
(/hrlstians were accustomed to meet very early in the 
morning, and "sing a hymn to Christ, as to God.' 
Now this would have been a custom of whicli no 
Christian in J^liny's or Trajan's time, would have 
been guilty. They would have regarded it with 
horror, as blasphemy. The. earliest Christians, were 
Jewish Christians — the Ebionites and Nazarenes. — 
Their gospel, seen by }']piphanius and Jerome, as 
they themselves relate, did not contain the two first 
chaj)ters of Matthew. The early Christians among 
the Jews, did not believe that Jesus Christ was any- 
thing more than a mere man. They rejected with 
al)horrence his equality with C^od. The first Gvnlile 
(hiostics, the Corinthians, Marcicnitcs, &€., did not 
advance the notion that Christ was (iod, or equal 
with God. Their gospel was the .same as the Ebion- 
ites in this respect. The many — the multitude, were, 
during three centuries, in full persuasion of the modern 
Unitarian doctrine, in this res])ect. The belief of tlic 
Divinity of Christ, was not established till the coun- 
cil of Nice, in 325. 

About all this, I have no fear of contradiction from 
any really learned ecclesiastic. 1 state these points 
as settled since the great controversy between l^riest- 
Icy and Morsel y. No one, in the present day, will 
ventuie his reputation on a j)osiiion .so utterly unien- 



74 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



75 



able as that the Christians of Pliny's time, ever 
considered Christ as God, or ever spoke of him as on 
an equality with God. The passage, therefore, in 
question, representing the early Christians as wor- 
shipping Christ as a God^ is, on the very face of it, a 
post- Nlceiie forgery — that is, written after the Nicene 
council — more than 200 years szibsequcnt to the days 
of Pliny. It must consequently be set down amongst 
the other pious frauds of that period. 

I now come to the third authority cited by Christ- 
ians — Seutonius, a contemporary of Pliiiy. We will 
allow the Christians to make the best of this writer, 
for if the passage be genuine, it tells very strongly 
against the divine character of Christianity. If the 
early Christians really were such as he describes 
them, it is quite evident they had no more right to 
call their system inspired, than the followers of 
Courtenay or Joe Smith. In his Life of Nero. Seuto- 
nius thus speaks of them: — " The Christians — a race 
of men of a nmo and villanoiis — wicked or mafrical 
superstition^ were visited with punishment." May I 
ask the Christians if they deem this the triic charac- 
ter of tlieir predecessors 'I If they do. I trust they 
will not boast either of the "wisdom " or the "vir- 
tue of their ancestors." Seutonius has another pas- 
sage in his Life of Claudius, which is quoted by 
Christian evidence-manufacturers. Alluding to the 
Emperor Claudius, he remarks, " he drove the Jews 
from Rome, who were constantly rioting^ Crestus 
being their leader." The priesthood strain this into 
an allusion to Christ and the Christians. Orosius, a 
Christian writer of the 5th century, who quotes tliis 
passage, does not pretend, however, to know whether 
it was the Christians or Jews who were thus ex- 
pelled ; and Dr. liardner says, that " learned men are 
not satisfied that this relates to the Christians."- — 
However, let the Christians of our time have the 
" benefit of the doubt," and what a compliment to 
their leader and their system ! ! ! Here is Christ, the 



I 



* 



son of, and yet co-partner with, God, kicked out of 
Konie as the poor rioters of Staffordshire and Lan- 
cashire were driven from their localities a short time 
a^o. Are we to believe that tlieir founder was such 
a riotous and disorderly personage? It is not to be 
wondered at, so many of his more i-norant followers 
exhibited similar propensities. Had Christ appeared 
in Britain in 1842, it is by no means improbable that 
he would have been incarcerated with the oppressed 
and starving operatives of the north. 

We must now hasten to remark upon the favorite 
testimony of the Cliristian evidence-makers— the ele- 
gant and classical historian Tacitus. Few writers of 
ancient Koine have enjoyed more just celebrity than 
us distinguished and accomplished author, and 
therefore, his evidence is highly esteemed l)y the 
Uiristiaiis It IS considered a triumphant answer to 
all unbelievers." Certainly, when you have dis- 
posed of Joscphus and Pliny, Tacitus is the onlv 
great author whom Christians will venture to nuote 
as evidence. And what is his evidence 7 Listen In 
ns -Annals," 15th book, chap. 44, after describing 
the great fire at Rome, during the reign of Nero he 
observes,-;' J]ut neither all the human help, nor'the 
liberality of the Lmperor, nor all the atonements pre- 
sented to the gods, availed to abate the infamy he 
Jay under of having ordered the city to be set on fire 
lo suppress, therefore, this common rumor, Nero 
procured others to be accused, and inflicted exquisite 
p(uiishments upon the people, 2rho were held in abhor- 
rence for their crimes, and were commonly lviif>wn bv 
the name of Christians, They had their denomina- 
tion from Christus, who, in the reign of Tiberius 
was put to death as a criminal, by^he Procurator 
1 ontius riiate. 1 his pernicious superstition, though 
checked for awhile, broke out again, and spread not 
only over .Tndea, the source of this evil, but reached 
the city also, whither flow from all quarters all things 
that an3 vile and shameful, and where they find 



7G 



EXTERNAL HIVIDENCE. 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



77 



shelter and encouragement. At first, they only were 
apprehended wlio confessed themselves of that sect; 
alterwards a vast multitude discovered by them, aU 
of which were condemned, not so much for their 
crime of burning the city, as for their enmity to 
mankind. Their execution was so contrived as to 
expose them to derision and contempt. 8omc were 
covered over with the skins of wild beasts, and 
torn to pieces by dogs. Some were crucified : otliers, 
liavuig been daubed witli combustible materials, were 
set up as lights in the night time, and thus burned to 
death. Nero made use of Jiis own garden as a thea- 
tre upon the occasion, and also exhibited the diver- 
sions ot the circus, sometimes standing in the crowd 
as a spectator, in the habit of a charioteer, at other 
times, driving a chariot himself Till, at length, these 
men, though really criminal, and deserving exem- 
plary punishment, began to be commiserated as peo- 
ple who were destroyed, not out of regard to the 
public welfare, but only to gratify the crucltv of one 
man." 

Such is the celebrated passage of which we have 
* lieard so much — a ])assage which we are told furnish- 
es a " beautil'ul coniirmation of Christianity." I deny, 
however, that it conlirms the Christian system: on 
the contrary, it does the very reverse. If we arc to 
bchcyc Tacitus, so far from Christianity being "di- 
vine," it is a "pernicious superstition;" so ill r from 
Its early teachers and disciples being inspired, " they 
were held m abhorrence for their crimes;" so far from 
the early Christians endeavoring to do good, they 
were abhorred for their ''enmity to mankind ;'' and 
so far Irom being unjustly punished, " they were renlty 
criniinul, and deservin{r exemplary piinisJtment.^' If 
this passage proves anythin<r, it proves that for which 
I am contending, and, therefore, cannot be taken as a 
conjirmatton of the divinity of Christianity. There 
are strong, exeeedin^Jy stroncr, reasons for l)elicving 
that this memorable passage, like that of .losephus, is 



y% 



an interpolation. These reasons I shall now lay be- 
fore you, and solicit your kind attention. The 1st is, 
that this passage z,9 iKd quoted by any of the Christian 
F(Uh.ers, It is next to certain, if such a passage had 
been in the early copies of Tacitus, that they would 
have quoted it, and especially if it be such a ''beanti- 
fnV^ confirmation of Christianity, as they were ever 
anxious to obtain all the evidence possible. So very 
desirous were they for the testimony of Pagans, that 
they had no objections to manufacture such evidence 
when "convenient." The 2nd objection is, that it is 
not quoted by Tertullian, though he read and largely 
cpioted the works of Tacitus, and his argument imme- 
diately called for the use of this quotation with so 
loud a voice, that his omission of it, if it had really 
existed, amounts to an extraordinary iuq)iobabihty. — 
This father has spoken of Tacitus, in a way that he 
could not have done if his writiuiifs had contained such 
a passage. I'he !]rd objection is, that it is not (pioted 
by (element Alexandnnus, who sot himself entirely to 
the work of adilucing and bringmg together all the 
admissions and recognitions which Pagan authors had 
made of the existence of Christ, or Christians before 
his time. The 1th objection is, tliat it has been no- 
where stumbled on l)y the laborious and all-seeking 
Eusel)ius, who could by no possibility have missed it, 
and whom it would have saved from the labor and 
infamy of forging the passage of .losephus, of adduc- 
ing the correspondence of Christ and Abgarus, and 
the Sibyliiie verses, and innumerable others of his 
pious and holy cheats. 5th, (and this is a most 
important fact,) that there is no restive or trace of its 
existence anytvherc in the irorld before the iryth cen- 
tury, when it was published in a copy of the Annals 
of Tacitus, in the year 14(38, by one .fohanues de 
Spire, of Venice, who took his imprint of it, from a 
sini^le manuscript in his own poicer and possession, 
and purporting to be written in the 8th century ; that 
is, more than 700 years f///e/- the time of Tacitus ! 

7* 



i 



78 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



The 6th objection, then, is, that it rests entirehj upon 
the ndehty of this one individual, who would have 
every opportunity and inducement to insert such an 
ujterpolation, knowing the high cliaracter of Tacitus, 
and how desirous tlie priesthood were to procure such 
evidence. The 7th objection consists in the fact that 
the style of the passage is not consistent with the 
usually mild and classic language of Tacitus. The 
Hth and last, that Tacitus, in no other jtari of his 
wrUinrrs, makes any allusion to Christ and Chris- 
tianity. 

These objections to the testimony of Tacitus, I 
hold, are unanswerable. 1 challenge the Christians 
to meet them. If they cannot be refuted, the Clirist- 
lan world have no evidence to adduce worth namine. 




I'y invalidates the divine character of 
the Christian scheme, but in all probability— so 
probable as to amount to a certainty— is as great a 
lorgery as the rest. While Philo— Me writer who, 
above all others, ought to have noticed in detail 
lavorably or unfavorably, the doings of Christ and 
his dupes, he being a contemporary, resident in the 
very seat of their movement, and having devoted 
three of his five volumes to the history of the state 
and sutlerings of the .lews, at the very time Christ is 
stated to have worked supernatural wonders,— makes 
no mention of the matter at all ! 

We have, therefore, I submit, given a fatal blow to 
the llibric ot external evidence. In our next address, 
It shall be razed to the ground. 



i 



i 



LECTURE FIFTH. 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



Friends — 

The discourse I rise to deliver, is the fifth of a 
series upon the Bible. Few questions are more 
important or more interesting, and yet upon no sub- 
ject does there exist such irreconcilable antipathy to 
examination. It is deemed impious, not laudable — 
dangerous, not beneficial, to test the truth of the 
Scriptures. You are called upon to concede every- 
thing — question nothing. In no case is the argument 
"made easy," — ''it is so, because it is so,'' more 
legitimate. The Bible is the Word of God— because 
it is the Word of God. This is the summary way 
in which the dogmatic Christians wish to silence the 
inquisitive sceptic. We are resolved, however, no 
longer to tolerate such antiquated conceit, but to 
examine with as much freedom and indifference the 
pretensions of the Bible as we would any other book. 
Nay, more ; lor its pretensions are greater, and, there- 
fore, the investigation should be more searching. 

In our last address, we entered upon that portion 
of our inquiry denominated Exter7ial Evidence. We 
proved, at the outset, that such evidence, if true, is 
utterly incompetent to decide the question at issue, 
for if it could be shown, (as we shall show in subse- 
quent Lectures,) that the internal evidence is false, 
the external is of no avail. In corroboration of that 
view, we cited the authority of Dr. ('onvers Middle- 



r' 



\ 



60 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



ton, Dr. \cscimiis Knox, and the Rev. John \Vesley 
VVc then proceeded to demonstrate that the external 
evidence, which tlie Cliristians did adduce, was by 
no means conchisive. On the contrarv, much of that 
evidence was completely spurious, soi'ne so cniestion- 
able as to be utterly inadmissible, and others told 
a.^ainst, rather than in lavor of the Christian scheme. 
Ihc testimony ot Josephus we proved, in the caustic 
lan-nage ol Uishop ^Valburton, was "a rank fonzery, 
and a very stupid one, too.^' Pliuy, the same. ^The 
evidence of Seutonius, we remarked, distinctly im- 
pugned tlie dicinc origin of Christianity. So did 
I acitus, though there were insurmountablo objections 
to the genuineness of his evidence. 

We now proceed to meet the next testimony ad- 
duced by Christians— Pontius Pilate. For many 
centuries, the testimony of Pilate was held in hi-h 
repute among the most learned Christians, being e^'s- 
teemed so conclusive, that it placed all doubt beyond 
the range ot possibility. It was first quoted by Justin 
Martyr, in the second century, nearly one hundred 
years after the death of Christ. It was afterwards 
adduced by lertullian, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Cliry- 
sostom and others,-aIl - Holy Fathers,- and. there- 
lore, ''all honorable men." Eusebius, of all the 
manufactureTs of "pious frauds," the most extensive 
and successful, seems perfectly enraptured with the 
testimony of Pilate, esteemmg it tlie grand strong- 
hold of ( hristian evidence. Certainly, if the testimoi^y 
ot 1 date could have been relied on. it midit have 
had some weight, as he, above all others, having sat 
in judgment on the case, ought to be familiar with 
the real facts oi the matter. Unfortunately, however 
lor tlie Christian world, the testimony of Pilate —the 
most direct and valuable that could have been of- 
frand "^ '^^M^l^^ce among the category of "pious 

The supposed testimony of this memorable charac- 
ter, IS contained in some letters~(Fabricus, in his 



f 



J 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



81 



Codex Apocryphus, says five)— wliich it is stated 
1 date. 111 his oflicial capacity of Governor, addressed 
to liberius. Emperor of Rome. In those epistles, 
I date IS represented as speaking very favorably of 
the Divinity of C^irist, his miracles, and his resurrec- 
tion. The language in which these communications 
are expressed, and the statements therein alfirmed, 
are so hyperbolical and absurd, and entirely unsup- 
ported by any other writer or historian of the time, 
that it is quite manifest they are the mere composi- 
tions of those fanatical and imprincipled priests who 
deemed it " a virtue to deceive and lie." Permit me 
to supply you with an extract or two from these rare 
productions. Who, I ask, who was not too pious to 
think— too rdi<rious to examine for himself, would 
believe that a Roman Governor, who dcsjnsed the 
(Jhristians,v/ouId write a passage like the following?— 
" There was," says he, alluding to die crucifixion, 
"darkness over the whole eardi, the sun in the mid- 
dle of the day being darkened, and the stars aj)pear- 
mg, among whose lights the moon appeared not, but 
as if turned to blood, it left olf shining." He proceeds 
to say, referring to the resurrection, "early in the 
morning of the first of the Sabbath, the resurrection of 
Christ was announced by a display of the most asto- 
nishing feats of Divine omnipotence ever performed • 
at the third hour of the night, the sun broke forth with 
such splendor as was never before seen, and the 
heavens became enlightened seven times more than 
any other day." As a climax to this rhapsody, he is 
represented as exclaiming that "an instantaneous 
chasm took place, and the earth opened and swallowed 
up all the unbelieving Jews, their temples and their 
synagogues : all vanished away, and the next morniu'r 
there was not. so much as one of thein left in allJcnt 
salem, and the Roman soldiers went stark staring 
mad.'' Such an extraordinary and unparalleled con- 
vulsion IS only mentioned in these contemptible epis- 
tles. No historian, great or small, who lived at the 



82 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



time, make!? the least reference to it. Joseplms, who 
flourished at this period, and who, as a Jew, took pe- 
cuhar interest in the welfare of his countrymen, is per- 
fectly silent upon the suhject, which would have heen 
next to impossible if such events really transpired. 
The elder Pliny, who, about the year 7o, wrote the 
"History of his own time," in thirty-one books, and 
was the most celebrated historian of that period, is 
quite silent upon this wonderful occurrence, which had 
it really happened, could not have escaped his obser- 
vation. The younger Seneca, too, a voluminous wri- 
ter, who was then about thirty-nine years of age, and 
must have been at Rome at the time, makes no men- 
tion of this wonderful phenomenon. Gibbon ex- 
presses the greatest contempt and indignation at these 
statements, and denounces them as alike false and 
jnypostcrous. It is clear, therefore, that those epistles 
of Pilate, so highly prized by that distinguished 
forgery manufacturer, Kuse])ius, is nothing but a 
''cunningly devised fable:' of the Holy Fathers, de- 
signed for the purpose of deluding those whom they 
thought were too ignorant to discover their impostures. 
I am happy to say that the more enlightened Christian 
evidence-makers, are now ashamed of the audacious 
impositions of their "Holy" predecessors, and as far 
as decency will permit, discard them. Some of the 
most eminent lOcclesiastical historians of modern times, 
Du Pin, of France, and Lardner, of England, have 
already repudiated these memorable epistles. Du Pin 
says, in the 2nd vol., c. 7, of his elaborate work on 
the " Scripture Canon,"—'' We have in the Orthodox- 
ographa next to the epistle of Lentulus, a letter at- 
tributed to Pilate, as written to Tiebrius, which con- 
tains the same things; bat it is difficidt to determine 
Avhether this letter was extant in Eiisebius's time, or 
whether it was not forged from his narration. Let 
this be how it will, there are several learned men who 
question the genuineness of this history, which has 
very little probabihty at the bottom of it.' For how is 



' 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



83 



it likely that Pilate should write such things to Tibe- 
rius of a man, whom he himself had condemned to 
death ? and though he might have done so, yet is it 
probable that Tiberius should have proposed to the 
Senate, the placing of such a man among the number 
of the Gods, upon the bare relation of a governor 7 
And if he had proposed any such thing, who can im- 
agine that the Senate would have submitted to it 7 
Wherefore, though we cannot absolutely charge this 
narration with falsehood, yet it may, at least, pass for 
a doubtful piece." Yes, very doubtful, Dr. Du Pin ! 
But his brother Christian and historian, Dr. Lardner, 
does much more \\\dXi doubt ; he declares that "the 
acts of l^ontius Pilate and his letter to Tiberius, which 
we now have, are not genuine, but tnanifestly spuri- 
ous V (Vol. 1, c. 2, p. 316, Jewish and Heathen Testi- 
monies.) So much then, for this '• glorious" evidence 
in favor of Christianity. 

Now for another piece of evidence equally " glori- 
ous V It is that of Publius Lentulus, Roman (jovern- 
or — the predecessor of Pilate, as procurator of Judea. 
The testimony of this individual, was, at one time, 
the peculiar favorite of the orthodox Christians. 
Living, as he did, during the early career of Christ, 
and officiatuig as governor of the very locality m which 
his movements are said to have occurred, his evidence, 
of course, was deemed pre-eminently important. It 
will be found in the History of Christ, as originally 
written by Zavier. It is in the form of a letter, ad- 
dressed as follows : " Lentulus, Prefect of Jerusalem, 
to the Senate and people of Rome, greeting." The 
letter proceeds to furnish us with a most glowing de- 
scription of the person of Christ, which, if correct, 
would lead us to believe that he was really a hand- 
some fellow. The letter commences, "At this time 
there hath appeared, and still lives, a man endowed 
with great powers, whose name is Jesus Christ. Men 
say that he is a mighty prophet — his disciples call him 
the Son of God. He restores the dead to life, and 



{W^% 



84 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



heals the sick from all sorts of ailments and diseases. 
He is a man of statnre, proportionably tall, and his 
cast of countenance has a certain severity in it, so full 
of effect, as to induce beholders to love, and still yet to 
fear him. His hair is of the color of wine, us far as 
to the bottoin of his ears, without radiation and 
straight, and from the lower part of his ears it is 
citrled down to his shoulders, and bright, and hangs 
downwards from his shoulders, [how precise !J At the 
top of liis head it is parted after the fashion of the 
Nazarenes : his forehead is smooth and clear, and his 
face withovt a pitnple, adorned with a certain tem- 
perate redness, his countenance gentlemanlike and 
agreeable, liis nose and month nothing amiss, his beard 
thick, and divided into two banchcs, of the same color 
as his hair, his eyes bine and nncominonhj bright. In 
reproving iind rebuking, he is formidable ; in teaching 
and exhorting, of a bland and agreeable tongue. He 
has a u'ondcrfnl grace of person, united with serious- 
ness. No one hath ever seen him .97// //c; hutireepin:^^, 
indeed they have. He hath a lengthened stature of 
body, his hands are straight and turned up, his amis 
are delectable. In speaking, deliberate and'slow, and 
sparing of his conversation — the most beautiful of 
couyitenance among the sons of men.''' 

Who after this will not be enamored of Christiani- 
ty? lam sin-e it must be a matter of unspeakable 
lamentation that some of the leading Christian evi- 
dence-manufacturers of our day, are gVnving dissatis- 
fied v/ith this flattering testimony of Lentidus, and 
endeavor, very ungraciously, to throw it overboard. 
The French ecclesiastical historian, l)u Pin, regard- 
less of the admiration of his forefathers, disposes of 
this celebrated letter in the following slashing and 
unceremonious style:—-' There is no need of showing 
the falsity of a letter attributed to Lentulus, written 
to the Senate and people of Rome, concerning the ac- 
tions of Jesus Christ, since the forgery of it is self- 
evident." In what an off-hand manner these reverend 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



85 



if 



historians speak of the forgeries of their pious Christian 
forefathers ! It appears to be nothing to commit a 
forgery — and especially a pious one — designed for the 
purpose of promoting religion. Well might Mosheim 
say that the holy Fathers deemed isuch individuals 
" deserving rather of commendation than censure.' 
But Dli Pin continues, " They make Lentulus to write 
in the character of governor of Jerusalem, though he 
never had that employ. It is directed to the Senate 
and people of Rome, whereas after the Commonwealth 
v/as changed into a monarchy, the Governors usually 
wrote to the Emperors. That which is contained in 
tliat letter is ridiculous : therein is a mean and con- 
temptible descrii)tion of the person of Jesus Christ, 
[not very contemptible, I presume] therein it is said 
that our Saviour had light colored hair, long and loose 
after the mode of the Nazarenes. The style wherein 
it is written does not suit with the purity and polite- 
ness of Augustus's time ; in a word, not one of the 
ancients hath made mention of that letter." (Vol. 2, 
c. 7, sec. 3, Complete History of the Canon, &c.) — 
Then I presume, Dr. Du Pin, it must go with the rest 
of the '• pious frauds ! " This really beautirul descrip- 
tion of the " Saviour of the world," which so bewitch- 
ed our progenitors, must really sink into oblivion. — 
What a pity ! O! cruel Dr. Du Pin ! 

We will now briefly remark upon the testimony of 
the Roman historian, Phlegon. I need say but little 
respecting his evidence, as the more learned Christians 
now acknovvledge it to be a stupid forgery. But even 
if true, it is of little moment, the following brief pas- 
sage being all that is said upon the subject : — ^' In the 
fourth year of the two hundred and second Olympiad, 
there was an eclipse of the sun, greater than any ever 
known before, and it was ni^ht at the sixth hour of 
the day, so that even the stars appeared, and there 
was a great earthquake in Bithynia that overthrew 
several houses in Nice." Gibbon has sarcastically 
observed — " The celebrated passage in Phlegon. is 

8 



8G 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



87 



now wisely abandoned." Very wisely, indeed ! and I 
doubt not the Christian priesthood will find it equally 
*' wise " to abandon the rest. 

I now come to consider the testimony of the cele- 
brated opponent of Christianity, Celsus. He flour- 
ished towards the middle of the second century. He 
was one of tlie most distinguished philosophers of his 
day, and combatted the pretensions of the early Chris- 
tians with consummate ability. He wrote a very 
elaborate work, entitled, "The True Word," as an 
expose of Christiainty, which was answered by the 
Christian Father Origen. We are informed by Chris- 
tian evidence-manufacturers that in this work Celsus 
argues as if all the events recorded in the Scriptures 
had really transpired, but denies that they were 
brought about through divine interposition. He be- 
lieved they were produced by magic, as the tricks ot 
the Egyptian priesthood, from whom, he affirms, 
Christ learned the secret art of imposture. Origen 
tells us that Celsus admitted Christ to have lived 
only a few years before, — was born of a virgin, — that 
angels appeared to Joseph, — that the Holy (ihost de- 
scended oi\ Jesus like a dove when he was baptized 
by John, and that a voice appeared declaring him to 
be the Son of God. Now 1 ask upon what authority 
are we to believe that Celsus admits that such things 
were mentioned in his time ] Have we tlie works of 
Celsus to consult 7 Confessedly not. We have only 
those portions which Origen, his antagonist, thought 
fit to furnish. The works of Celsus were destroyed 
by the Christians, publicly hurnt^ a fact which will 
ever remain an indelible stigma upon the early pro- 
pounders of Christianity. The testimony, therefore, 
of Celsus rests solely upon the ipse dixit oi Origen. — 
And who is he / An honest man ? one upon whom 
we can place reliance? one Avho would not feel in- 
terested in falsifying tiie writings of Celsus? who 
would not give us an ex-parte statement, but just the 
bare facts and no more? By no means. On the con- 



I 



trary, he was one of those men who "deemed it a 
virtue to deceive and lie." And, moreover, he was 
the acknowledged adversary of Celsus ; which fact 
alone would induce him to take every unfair advan- 
tage, and to represent his opponent's meaning as 
would best suit his purpose. 

Allow me, my friends, to remind you of the real 
character of Origen, as given in my third discourse, 
when developing the conduct of the early Christian 
Fathers. Bishop Horsely, in his celebrated reply to 
Priestley, says that Origen '* was not incapable of as- 
serting in argument what he believed not^ and that a 
strict regard to truth in disputation icas not one of the 
virtues of his character^'''' and that " the time was, 
when the practice of using imjustifiahlt means to 
serve a good cause was openly avowed, and Origen 
himself was amongst its defenders." 1 spurn, then, 
with scorn and contempt the authority of such a man. 
I denounce him as an impostor — though he was a 
Christian ; a rogue — though he was a saint. 

Further. Looking at the subject apart from the 
dishonesty of Origen, the testimony of Celsus, accord- 
ing to all legitimate ratiocination, is altogether inad- 
missible. It is based upon what logicians term a 
petitio principii — a begging of the question — proving 
a position by that which is denied. In this case it is 
establishing Christian statements, by Christian state- 
Tnents — a modus operandi which cannot be tolerated 
in an examination like the present. 

It may not be uninteresthig to lay before you a few 
of the objections which Origen says Celsus alleged 
against the Christian system. Apostrophising Christ, 
Origen represents Celsus as asking — "What need was 
there for carrying thee, while an infant, into Egypt, 
that thou mightest not be slain, for it did not become 
God to be afraid ? And now an angel comes from 
heaven to direct you and your relations to flee into 
Egypt, lest you should be taken up and put to death, 
as if the great God who had already sent two angels 



88 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



80 



upon your account, could not have preserved yoii hi, 
yi^^on m salety at home ! " Alluding to thl lligh^ 
of Christ from his pursuers, he says, - Christ was 
caugiit basely lurking and ily.ng, being betrayed by 
those ^WIOln he chilled Ins disciples." ^fpeaking of h,s 
crucifixion, he observes, - If not before, why did he 
uoi 7101C, at least, exert Ins divinity, and deliver him- 
self from tins ignominy, and treat those as they de- 
served who behaved ignominiously both towards 
Inmself and Ins father l " He further remarks, - You 
say that wh(3ii you was washed by John, there licrht- 
ed upo.i you the appearance of a bird. What credit- 
able witness has said that he saw this, or heard the 
voice from heaven declare you to be the 8on of Cod 
except yourself ? " Again he observes, " Well, then 
let us grant that all these things were done by you • 
snnilar impostures were done by the Egyptians, and 
because /A^y do such things, must we therefore esteem 
hem to be Gods sons? or must we not rather say 
that hey were the artifices of wicked and miserable 
men / Celsiis also objected that '^ no wise and learned 
men were admitted to the mysteries of their religion • 
ct no man come that is learned, wise, or prudent^ (for 
these things they accounted evil and unlawful,) but if 
any be unlearned— an inlant or an idiot, let him ap- 
pear and welcome; thus openly declaring that none 
but fools or such as are devoid of sense and reason, 
slaves, silly women, and little children, are fit disci- 
ples for the God they worship. We may sec these 
irilling and mountebank impostors brairgincr jrroat 
things to the vvlnar^ not in the presence and companv 
01 wise men (for that they dare not,) but wherever 
they espy a flock of boys, slaves, and weak silly peo- 
ple, tiere they crowd in and boast themselves." 

Celsus, says Origen, further observes, and, I must 
say, it appears much like the truth—" The mother of 
Jesus bcmg great with child, was put away by the 
carpenter who had espoused her, he havin- convict- 
ed her of adultery with a soldier named Pantharas. 



% 



% 



Then, having been put out of doors by her husband, 
she wandered about in a shameful manner, till she 
brought forth Jesus, in an obscure place ; and that he, 
being m want, served in ]::gypt for a livelihood, and 
having there learned some charms, such as the Egyp- 
tians are fond of, he returned home, and then, valu- 
ing himself upon those charms, he set himself up for 
a god." ^ 

1 could give you more of Celsus' s objections, which 
display no little ability and acumen, but my time will 
not permit; and, moreover, it would be somewhat 
irrelevant to the immediate (piestion in debate. I 
hasten to expose the alleged testimony of another ce- 
lebrated opponent of Christianity — Porphyry, who 
flourished about a century after Celsus. He was a 
philosopher of the Platonic' school, and a man of ex- 
traordinary talent, learning, and virtue. He -was em- 
inent hi all the departments of knowledge— literary, 
historical, and philosophical. As a writcu- his styi(; 
was singularly elegant, dignified, and chaste— a very 
pleasing contrast to that of his pious adversaries. S> 
renowned was he for his probity and moralitv, that 
he was surnamed "The Virtuoiis "— an appellation 
which few of the Christian fathers could justly claim. 
Dr. J Gardner, a Christian^ says of Porphyry, the 
Infidel, Vol. 3, page 12 1, of his Jewish and Heathen 
Testimonies, and this is one of the most glorious in- 
stances of disinterested humanity on record — "Por- 
phyry, as Eunapius assures us, had a wife named 
Marcella, a widow, with five children, to whom he 
ascribed one of his books, in which lie says he mar- 
ried her not for the sake of having children by lier 
himself, but that he miglit educate the children which 
she had by a former liusl)and, who was his friend. 
Which showed, (says the Dr.) a virtuous and gener- 
ous disposition. Nor, indeed, (continues the Dr.) do 
we meet with any reflection made upon his condu; t. 
Cyrill, of Alexandria, in his answer to Julian, makes 
honorable mention of Marcella, as a woman of a phi- 

8* 



90 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



losophical turn of mind, and for that reason esteemed 
by Porphyry." Such was the great opponent of Chris- 
tianity. How different to the Bible-heroes and Bible- 
defenders ! Let me not liear again that impudent as- 
sumption of the priesthood— that no Infidel can be a 
good man. 

About the year 250, Porphyry pu])hshed a very vo- 
huuinous work, (30 vols.) in refutation and exposure 
of the Christian system. It produced, as miglit be 
presumed from the high character and attanmients of 
the writer, a strong sensation, so much so, that the 
poor holy fathers were quite friglitened from their 
propriety. Answer it they could not. What, then, 
must they do? O! the priesthood were not long in 
devising a scheme which should refute the writings of 
Porphyry most effectively. Having, by this time, in- 
gratiated themselves into the good graces of the Em- 
peror Theodosius, whom they were in the habit of 
addressing in the fulsome language of "Theodosius 
the great !"—"' Theodosius the wise .'"—Theodosius 
the impartial !" &c., they prevailed upon that fanati- 
cal despot to issue a decree against the writings of 
this enlightened and good man; and, while they were 
doing, they deemed it advisable to complete the busi- 
ness, by including the writings of every individual who 
had had the ^'- aialanty'^ and ^^ impictif^ to ojxpose 
Christianity. The works of Porphyry, and all other 
heretics, were thus publicly burnt in the market-place. 
The following is an extract from the decree, as given 
by Dr. Lardner, Vol. 3, page 111:—'' We decree, 
therefore, that all writings whatever, which Porphy- 
ry, or any one else, hath written against the Christian 
religion, in the possession of whomsoever they shall 
be found, shall be committed to the fire ! for we would 
not sufltr any of these things so much as to come to 
men's ears, which tend to provoke God to wrath, and 
to offend the minds of the pious." O! kind and 
generous Christians ! To cap the climax, the same 
decree proceeds to enforce a belief in that silly doc- 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



91 



trine, the Trinity, and declares that if any person will 
not believe it, "that besides the condemnation of 
divine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe 
penalties which our authorities, guided by heavenly 
wisdom, may think proper to inflict upon them." O ! 
those were glorious days for the priesthood ! What a 
pity we cannot have a " revival !" How lamentable 
that the writings of an Owen, a Volney, a Voltaire, a 
Paine, a Gibbon, and a Hume, should be allowed "to 
come to men's ears, provoke God to wrath, and oflcnd 
the minds of the pious !" Why are they not burnt 
publicly in our market-places? Would it not le a 
"glorious" sight to behold your Carlton Hill, or Ar- 
thur's Seat, blazing with the writings of these great 
and good men ? But, alas ! those days are gone by, 
A new era has dawned upon us. Thanks to The glo- 
rious advancement of mind and civilization. Thanks 
to the progress of knowledge as diffused by our Me- 
clianic's Institutions, our Lyceums, our Halls of Sci- 
ence. Thanks to the mighty power of the printing 
press. O ! it arose, and priestcraft trembled. The 
rusty chains of mental bondage fell from their hands, 
and the bright spirit of free inquiry flew from their iron 
grasp, arousing the intellect of the world from its de- 
basing slumbers ! Dr. Jortin, in his Ecclesiastical 
History, openly charges the fathers with the common 
practice of perverting, defacing, and destroying the 
works of their adversaries, and even those of each 
other. 

To show the tact displayed by Porphyry, in his 
opposition to the Christian fathers, I will give you a 
few specimens of his style. "If," says he, "Christ 
be the way of salvation, the truth, and the life, and 
*hey only who believe in him can be saved, what be- 
come of the men who lived before his coming?" A 
rather awkward question, and it is not to be wondered 
at that the priesthood found it easier to burn it, than 
to answer \i. "Some," says Porphyry, aUuding to 
the Christian fathers, more especially Origen, "deter- 



92 



EXTERNAL EVIDKNCE. 



EXTERNAL KVIDENCE. 



93 



mined not to see the depravity of the Jewish scriptures, 
but to find out a sohition of objections that nuiy be 
brought against them, have adopted forced interpreta- 
tions, inconsistent in themselves, and unsuitable to 
those wntiuirs, and such as should not only be a vin- 
dication of these absinditios, but alford bkewisc a 

recommendation of their own particular opinions.'* 

He says, "Origen, who was a (^reek, and educated 
m ^reek sentiments, Jearned from the (.'rccians the 
aUegorical method of cxplainini: the Greek mystcrips, 
which he cunningly apphiMJ to Jewish Scriptures.'^ 
The 12th book of Porphyry's, was written against 
the book of Daniel, whicii he states was not written 
by him whose name it bears, l)iit by anotluM' who 
hved in Judea in the time of Antiochns, surnamed 
MpiHiamus, and that the book of Daniel docs not 
foretell things fo romc, but relates trhal had alnadij 
hapftmcd! A curious wiiy oi' jjro/,hf r,/{n"; ccMtainlv' 
l^)r])hyry again observes, ^'The ( hristians fnid fault 
with sacred rights and sacrilices, and incense, and 
other things in which the worshij) of tem[)les consists. 
And yet they allow that this kind of worship bc^aa 
in ancient times /ji/ /he appo'nitmenf, of God. who is 
also re])resented as wanting lirst fruits." He refers 
to (;enesis, c. 4, v. 3, as proof 'MJIirist," says he, 
'' threatens everlasting punishmcMit to those who do 
not believe in him, and yet in another place he says, 
' W ith wliat measure you meet, it shall be meeted to 
you again,' which is nbsurd and contradictory." 

I will now remark u}>on what is called the evidence 
of Porphyry in favor of Christianity. The "Holy 
Fathers," having so adm'naUij disposed of the ircnuine 
writings of that powerful aut'hor, thought it would bo 
a capital hit if they were to get up a work in Poii)hy- 
ry's name, containing something favorable to' Chris- 
tianity. The idea was no sooner suggested than 
realized. To manufacture a '-pious fraud" was a 
'•virtue," and, therefore, during the days of that re- 
spec table forgery-maker, Euscbius, a work appeared 



'»! 



entitled the "Philosophy of Oracles,'' purporting to 
be written by Porphyry. This work contained many 
expressions higlily complimentary to Christians, a few 
of which werci the following: — "What we are going 
to say, may perhaps apj>ear to some a paradox, for 
theCiods (meaning the heathen (»ods) declared (iirist 
to be a person moiit plous^ and became immortal — ■ 
moreover they speak of him honorably. -"^ Again the 
Oracle says, ''He (Christ) was. therefore, a pious per- 
son, and went to heaven, as vioas prrsoas do^ for 
which cause you ought not to speak evil of him." — 
"I'lx^se j>assages were seized upon by the Christian 
Fathers with the most exepiisite exultation, and adduc- 
ed as a triumphant evidence in favor of their system. 
Kusebiiis, as usual, was in exslacies upon the subject, 
and refers to the passage in the following terms: '* We 
will not insist upon the testimony of fricmls, which 
might be of little value, [certainly not, if they were 
like him. ] but those of strangers, not of our body. And 
of all the (;<reek historians and philosophers that ever 
were, none can be more fitly alleged than the very 
friend of demons, (Porphyry,), who in our time has 
gaiiHHl so much re])utation by the falsehoods he has 
l)ublislied against us. In the work v/hich//c has writ 
of the philosophy, from Oracles, he has made a col- 
lection of the Oracles of Apollo and the other (»ods, 
and good demons." Fabricus, Dr. Gregory Sharpe, 
Dr. Chapman, and Dr. Macknight, triumphantly refer 
as evidence to this unblushing forgery. This " Phil- 
osophy of Oracles," however, like the rest of the 
'• pious fraud.s," cannot stand the scrutiny of honest 
criticism. The Christian historian, Du Pin, is ashamed 
[of it, though he endeavored to palliate the conduct of 
Kusebius. But Dr. Lardner is the Christian who ef- 
fectually disposes of this infamous fraud. In his 
"Jewish and Heathen '^I'esti monies," he discusses the 
subject at great length, and in page 2P)and 220, con- 
cludes his arguments as follows: — "The conclusion 
to be made from the whole is, that it x^nut a work 



b 



94 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



95 



of Porphyry's, a heathen philosopher, and an enemy 
to Clinstianity, but a Christum, and a Patron of 
Christianity! ! ! " '' It is the artifice or forrrcry of 
some Clirjstian, designed and contrived to save the 
interests of Christianity in general, and possibly hlvc- 
wise of some particular notion of tbe author itself' 
Alluding to the priest who forged it, the Dr. observes, 
page 221, "having formed a design to exhibit a cor- 
rect testimony in behalf of Christianity, in the name 
of some learned Heathen, and to bring into it oracular 
answers of Heathen deities, he supposed that no fitter 
name could be taken than that of Porphyry, who was 
in great repute for leariting^ and who had published 
the bitterest invectives aganist Jews and Christianity, 
and the strongest arguments that have ever been al- 
leged against the Scriptures, and he hoped by this 
work, to overthrow Porphyry's long work against the 
< Jiristians, which had done so much mischief" 

Such my friends, is the history of this audacious 
piece of imposture so often boasted as a triumphant 
admission of the divinity of the Christian scheme.— 
It is quite equal to the rest of the pious forgeries whicli 
I have exhibited in my last three addresses. 

VVe have now reviewed, at length, the external evi- 
dence usually adduced by Christians in confirmation 
of their system. I observed, at the close of my last 
discourse, that the facts 1 had then submitted, gave a 
latal Shrek to the fabric of Christian evidences, and 
that, on this occasion, I should endeavor to raze it to 
the ground. 1 ask, respectfully, is it not fairly demol- 
ished? \\here is the person who will attempt to prop 
It up 7 \\ hat is the whole of this evidence but a mass 
of perversion and fraud 7 Were it necessary I could 
tell you ot other forgeries, of the forgery of the cor- 
respondence between King Abgarus and Christ— the 
torgery of the Sibyline verses — the forgery of the 
works of Hystaspes and Trismigistus— the forgery of 
the correspondence between Paul and Seneca, A:c., 
&c. But 1 forbear, as the Christian priesthood them- 



selves are now ashamed of them. My friends, was 
such evidence adduced in favor of the divinity of any 
other book, it would excite unspeakable disgust and 
derision in the mind of every enlightened and philo- 
sophic inquirer. I make not these statements to irri- 
tate my Christian opponents, but to induce them to 
open their eyes to the scene of delusion and imposture 
in which they have been so long confined. Let them 
look beyond the boundaries of their narrow prejudices, 
and contemplate the illimitable field of inquiry. Let 
tiiem look for truth, not merely within the little con- 
fines of their own dark creeds, and inexplicable dog- 
mas, but •' wherever it can be found," for as Moore 
exclaims — 

^^ When from the lips of truth, one mighty breath, 
Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in its breeze, 
The whole dark pile of human mockeries ; 
Then shall the reign of mind commence on earth, 
And starting fresh as from a second birth, 
Man, in the sunshine of the world's new spring, 
Shall walk transparent like some holy thing. '' 

For the information of the reader, I should wish to 
state that the best works to consult in discussing the 
Lxternal Evidence of Christianity, are the following: 
The Bibliotheca of Fabricus, the small work of T^ishop 
Casiiis on the Canon, in quarto, the translation of 
Lewis Ellis Du Pin's Ecclesiastical History, the Ec- 
clesiastical History of Tillemont, the work of Basnage 
on the Jews, the Ecclesiastical Histories of Mosheim 
and .fortin, and the Dissertations of the former, but 
especially, the learned works of those really able 
divines, the Rev. Jeremiah .Tones,— ''New and full 
method of settling the canonical authority of the New ' 
Testament," printed at the Clarendon press, Oxford, 
1798, in three vols, octavo; and the great work of 
Hr. Nathaniel Lardner. on the credibility of the Gos- 
pel History, &c., in eleven vols, octavo, 1798. The 
works of Dr. Priestley, in his controversy with Hors- 
ley, may also be consulted with advantage. 




96 



EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. 



\Vc close this part of our subject, witli a few ex- 
tracts from the writings of decided and consistent 
Protrstants : — 

" We have no revealed rule wliich will ascertain 
with moral certainty which doctrines are riglit and 
which are wrong — that is, as they arc known to 
(iod.*' ''Salvation therefore cannot depend on Or- 
tliodoxy; it cannot consist in a])stract doctrines, about 
which men of equal abilities, virtue and sincerity are, 
and have always been divided." ^* No error on ab- 
stract doetrines can be heresy, in the sense of a wrong 
belief which endangers the soul."' (Rev. J. Blanco 
\>Jiite on Jferesy.) "Protestantism consists in no 
specific creed, no particular ritual. It is merely a 
)>rotest, both by word and by deed, against the ex- 
ercise of human authoritv in' the concerns of relig- 
ion,'' (Rev. (i. Harris.) " Theology, I defme to be, 
tlie art of teaching what nobody knows. The priests 
set up a grand j)uppet-show, and make us pay hand- 
somely for [)L'eping." (Lord 15rougham's (Opinions, 
iJSli?.) '• W hoever represents any peculiarity of his 
own or of his chmch's creed, as an essential part of 
the (iosjicl, thereby subverts the d'ospel itself, as a 
divine institution; he cannot be ridit, unless Cluisti- 
Jinity be false.'' (Rev. J. Martineaii! Rationale of Rel. 
liKiuiry, 1830, p. 1U7.) "lie is no more to under- 
stand for me, than I am for him ; nor is it material 
to any one what my opinions are, any farther than 
they carry their own evidence with them." (Locke's 
Works, p. 040.) 



LECTURE SIXTH, 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



Friends — 

We purpose this evening to discuss the genv'uicness 
of the Scriptures. This will necessarily lead us to 
consider, more jiarticularly, the inlcrnal evidence ad- 
duced by Christians in support of their " inspired " 
text-book. This is unquestionably the most important 
portion of the discussion, for, as 1 formerly observed, 
if the Intcrnnl evidence be false, all the external is of 
no avail. If we can prove from the book Usf/f that it 
caimot be of divine origin, the dispute is fairly set at 
rest. 

We allirm, then, in the first place, that the principal 
books of the Old and New Testament were nol writ- 
/cj/. hij Uioae whose names they bare^ and^ conseqiientlyy 
on the venj fare of the subject^ do we find imposture ! 
We will consider the germineness of the books seri- 
atim^ as given in the liible, beguming with the books 
of Moses, viz., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 
and Deuteronomy. These constitute the principal 
division of the Jewish Scriptures, and merit, there- 
fon^, especial consideration. 

My lirst objciction to their genuineness is, tliat there 
is no affirnwfive evidence that Moses wrote them, that 
is, he himself does not declare he is the author of 
them. It is the Jewish priesthood, and not Moses, 
who allixed his name to those precious compositions. 
I'here is not the Ica.-it particle of direct evidence to 

9 






98 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



prove that he is the writer of them. I challenge both 
Jews and Christians to adduce it. If he were tlie au- 
tlior of these books, why not plainly and honestly statt, 
the facts? lint Moses has not done so. On the con- 
trary, the whole of them are written m the style of a 
neutral writer — a third person. They are written as 
if some historian was narrating events long gone by. 

It is always, when his name is mentioned, "And 
the Lord said unto Moses," and '• Moses said unto the 
Lord," or, "the people said unto Moses," or, "Moses 
said unto the people" — the style mvariably adopted 
by neutral writers. 

Supposing that any one of you. giving yourself 
some name, say Jackson, was writing your own life, 
and recording an interview with an individual, would 
you not express it as, " I said unto him," or " he said 
unto me," and not as " Jackson said unto Johnson," 
and " Johnson said unto Jackson ? " Such is the 
natural language under such circiunstances, and any 
other would be absurd. 

There is no further reason for believing that Moses 
IS the author of the Pentateuch, than that his name 
occurs very frequently — that he is the hero of the tale 
— a reason that will api)Iy to any memoir. Just as 
well, upon that ground, might you allirm that John- 
son wrote BoswelTs life, Byron that of Moore's, or 
Napoleon that of Scott's. 

To say that Moses ?ni(rht write in that style, is only 
to ^eo* the (picstion — to rest the argument upon a 
doubt. We hav^e just as much right to suppose that 
he might not. Both prove the same thing — nothing. 
If Moses lucre the author of these books, what are we 
to think of the following queer passage? — 

In Numb. chap. xii. ver. 3, it states, "Now, the 
man Moses, was very meek above all the men that 
were on the f ice of the earth." 

Think, my friends, of a meek man declaring to the 
world that there is no person upon earth as meek as 
himself! The idea is paradoxically ])reposterous. 



I 






THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



99 



If Moses did write that passage, it proves he was the 
very opposite character to what he there assumes ; 
and hence, in writing, such an expression must have 
been violating the convictions of his own mind. 

I have often heard phrenologists speak of the organs 
of benevolence, wonder, veneration, iV:c., being dis- 
eased, but if Moses was the author of such language, 
1 should say his organ of modesty was deranged. 

In Deuteronomy, the style strikingly proves the im- 
possibility of Moses being the writer. The manner is 
essentially dramatic. The writer opens the subject 
with an introductory discourse, and then introduces 
Moses as in the act of speaking; and when lie has 
made Moses finish his harangue, he resumes his own 
part, and speaks till he brings Moses forward again, 
and at last closes the scene with an account of the 
d(3ath and burial of Moses. 

This interchange of speakers occurs no less than 
four times in this book : from ver. 1 of chap. i. to the 
end of ver. 5, it is the writer who speaks; he then in- 
troduces Moses as in the act of delivering his oration, 
and this continues to the end of ver. 40, of chap. iv. 
Here the. writer drops Moses, and speaks historically 
of what was done in conse(iuence of what Moses, 
when living, is supposed to have said, and which the 
writer has dramatically rehearsed. 

This style continues to the end of chap, xxxiii., 
when the writer, having now iiiiished the rehearsal 
on the part of Moses, comes forward and s})eaks 
through the whole of the last chapter, lie begins by 
telling the reader that Moses went up to the top of 
Pisgah, &c., and died in the land of Moab, and that 
the Lord buried him in a valley, and that no man 
knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day, that is, unto 
the time at which the writer lived who wrote the 
book of l^euteronomy. It is as clear as language can 
possibly be, that Moses is not the writer of thet>c 
books. 

Who, that is in his right reason, would believe that 



100 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



101 



Moses composed the following lines : " So Moses, the 
servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, 
accor(hng to the word of the Lord. And he buried 
him in a valk^y hi the land of Moah, over against 
J^eth-l^eer, but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto 
this day ? " Are we to beheve that Moses wrote an 
account of his own death and burial? and that, too, 
as is evident from the last line, many years subse- 
quent to his dissolution 7 Tiie man who would swal- 
low such an absurdity, must indeed possess a most 
capacious appetite for the Avonderful. 

Paine (juaiutiy remarks, when alhiding to the con- 
cluding portion ot the verses just cpioted, whicli states, 
"That no man knowt^th of his se])ulchre unto this 
(Ja,y ■' — " To make Moses the s])eaker, would be an 
improvement on the play of a cliild that hides him- 
self, and cries, nobody can lind me — nobody can lind 
Moses." 

I proceed to propound other objections to the po- 
sition that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch. 
I hold that these books were Avritten centuries after 
his time. Tlu^ concluding sentence of the verses just 
read is my first proof: — 

•'No man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." 

What docs this mean? Does it not iin|)ly the la])se 
of a long interval between the day of Moses's death 
and the period when this passage was written .^ 

My next argument is based upon (Genesis, chap, 
xxxvi. ver. 31 : — 

"And these are the kings that reigned in I'dom 
before there reigned any king over the children of 
Israel." 

it is evident this passage could not have been writ- 
ten until after ihcjirst king began to reign over Israel, 
nay, until sercral had reigned; for the term "«//?/," 
as here used, refers to a plurality. The father of 
modern Inlidelity explains this argument with admi- 
ral)le tbrce and clearness : — 

" Now, were any dateless writings to be found, in 



which, speaking of any past events, the writer should 
say, these things happened before there was any Con- 
gress in America, or before there was any Convention 
in France ; it would be evidence that such writings 
could not have been written before^ and could only 
have been written after there was a Congress in Ame- 
rica, or a Convention in France, as the case might be; 
and, consequently, that it could not be written by any 
person who died before there was a Congress in the 
one country or a Convention in the other." 

This case is precisely parallel to the passage in 
question ; and it must be palpal)le, to any person 
of ordinary compr(^hension, that the words therein 
contained, could not have been composed until, at the 
very earliest, the days of Saul, the (irst king of Israel, 
tliat is, Wu years after the death of Moses — the former 
event occurring, according to the lliblical Chronology, 
1095 «. c, and the latter 1 152 b. c. To aflirm, there- 
fore, that Moses was the author of a book, referring to 
events which did not happen until nearly four centu- 
ries after he was snugly reposhig in the " valley of 
Moab," is to affirm something more than an al)surdity. 
Again — In (Genesis, chap. xiv. ver. II, we are told 
that Abram pursued his enemies imto Dan. Now 
there was no place named Dan until after the death 
of Samson — that is, more than 300 years subsequent 
to the days of Moses. Moses, therefore, could not 
have written this passage. The place called Dan in 
the !>ible, was originally a town of the Gentiles, called 
Lalsh; and when the tribe of Dan seized upon this 
town, they changed its name to Dan, in commemora- 
tion of Dan, who was the father of that tribe. In 
proof of this statement, I will refer you to Judges, 
chap .xviii. verses 27, 28, and 20 : — 

" And they took the things which Micah had made, 
and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, 
unto a people that were quiet and secure ; and they 
smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt 
the city with lire. And there was no deliverer, be- 

9* 



t 



102 



THE GENUINENESS OF TTIF. SCRIITURE& 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



103 



cause it was far from Zidon, and they liad no busi- 
ness with any man ; and it was in tiie valley' that 
lieth by Beth-rehob. And they built a city and dwelt 
therein. And they called tl)e name of the city, Dan, 
after the name of Dan their father, who was born 
unto Israel : howb«3it, the name of the city was Laish 
at the first." This aceonnt of the Danites taking pos- 
session of fiaish, and changing it to Dan, is placed in 
the book of Jndii'es immediately nf/er the death of 
Samson. The death of Samson occurred 1120, b. c, 
and that of Moses 1 152, p. c., and, therefore, accord- 
ing to historical arrangement, the place was not called 
D ui vntd XVi years after the decease of Moses. It is 
manifest, then, that he could have nothing to do with 
the authorship. Again — Could Moses have written 
the 8th verse of the 3Sth chap, of Ilxodus, which 
s|)eaks of '-' lottkhifr-irlas.^es,'^ when glass was only 
invented by Henedict. an liUglish monk, m \\\q seventh 
century — (the year 074) more than 20U0 years after 
Mose.^ icas dead J 

It is clear, my friends, thnt no historian is worthy 
of credit, wliosc history contains gross anachronisms 
— allusions to facts of subserpient date, or to customs 
of subsequent date, or who employs words: expres- 
sions, and phrases, not confonuabic with the time of 
which he speaks. Such anachronisms furnish irrefu- 
table objections to the genunieuess of any ancient 
book, and the l^eiUateuch a})onnds in such discrepan- 
cies. Suppose a play published as Shakspeare's, con- 
tained allusior)s to the Battle of Waterloo, is not that 
enough to destroy all claim to geimineness 7 Would 
it not prove that Shakspean^ did not write it? I could 
refer you to other anachronisms as gross as any 1 liavc 
just poiiUed out. Dr. Francis has noticed several. — 
*-ln the book of the Old Testament," says he, "we 
lind abundant proofs that they have been written in 
an age greatly posterior to that of Moses. In (ienesis, 
chap. xii. v. 6, we find these words — ' And the Ca- 
naanite was then in the land/ which we learn from 



the Bible, did not happen till after David, and could 
not, therefore, be written by Moses. The beginning 
of Deuteronomy is certainly not written by him, for 
he never passed the Jordan. lie died upon Mount 
Ncbor, to the eastward of it. In Dent. chap, xxxiv, 
we find this expression — ' Tliere never was, in Israel, 
so great a prophet as Moses ; ' and such eould l)C point- 
ed out in many places. Thf»ro needs no comment to 
show that such passages could only be written in a 
posterior age, and when there had been several proph- 
ets after Moses." 

What, however, may be considered as more conclu- 
sive than all the rest, that the Pentateuch could not 
have been written by Moses, comprising, as it does, a 
large volume, is, that there were only two modes of 
writing known to Moses : one by cutting the words 
in stone, and the other by tracing them on soft mortar 
or plaster, which last method he expressly recom- 
mends to the Jews, Dent. chap, xxvii. verses 4 and 8. 
Perhaps the tables of stone used on the mount were 
also plastered, for Moses wrote thereon the command- 
ments in one morning. To have written all the di- 
dactic part of the Pentateuch, either in one way or 
the other, would have been next to impossible ; and, 
when written, what building could contain this heap 
of stones^ or how were they to be transported? Why, 
it would have required as much stone to write out the 
five long books of the Pentateuch as would have built 
the finest street in liUrope. When, dierefore, the au- 
thor of this collection, makes Moses wr'Ue the law in a 
BOOK, he conforms himself to the language and ideas 
of his oir/n day, not of the days of Mo.ses. The au- 
thor, therefore, wrote or compiled it when books were 
in common use. There is no evidence of the papyrus 
being used for writing in the time of Mo.ses, nor for a 
long time after. A writer in Walsh's American Re- 
view, states that the IJgyptian papyrus was not in 
common use till the time of the Ptolemies, and that 
Herodotus was the first historian who could have 



104 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



made use of it. I scarcely need state that no long 
word, such as the Pentateuch, could have been writ- 
ten till the invention of that material, about one thou- 
sand years after Moses ! You w'lW remember in my 
first Lecture, I informed you that the hrst time the 
*-law of Moses" was ever mentioned, was by the 
priest llilkiah, 800 years afler Moses, who says he 
fonnd it. Found it ! indeed ! Why. if Moses wrote 
it, it must have been upon stone or plaster, and how 
in the name of common sense could such a prodigious 
mass of materials have been losl, and tliat for 800 
years I It is a farce to talk of an elaborate liistory 
written on such materials — none but a Hible-reader 
could swallow such nonsense. With res])ect to the 
book of Genesis in particular, it is quite evident it 
must have been written by two diflerent historians, 
at least, and therefore could not be the work of Moses, 
even supposing all our former objections were invalid! 
I principally refer to the first four chapters, detailing 
the creation. There are two diiferent stories of this 
event, so opposite to each other, in style and fact, that 
no individual excepting a lunatic, without memory, 
could write them. The first story begins with chap, 
i. and ends at chap. ii. v. 3. The second begins chap, 
ii. V. 4, and ends with that chapter. Dr. Eichorn is 
of opinion that these books must have been composed 
by diiferent writers. One story speaks of God, the 
other of Lord God — one concludes, chap. i. v. 27, 
with telling us man and 2cojna?i were created, the 
other dcrrlns, with telling us they were Jiot, (chap. ii. 
V. 5.) One says man and woman were created /o- 
gelher, ^chap. i. v. 27,) the other that the woman was 
made sometime ffficr the man, (chap. ii. v. 18.) Ac- 
cording to the first story there was no name given to 
the first man and woman. According to the second 
they have names given them — one sayls they were to 
have dominion over Me iv/iole earth — the other that 
their dominion was limited to a garden. One narra- 
tive gives six days of creation— the other (chap. ii. 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



105 



V. 4,) relates the story as if there were only one day. 
^\\^. first account makes no mention of any particular 
countries, whiln the .s-eco/^ci appears to have been writ- 
ten many years later, after countries and places had 
acquired names, as the writer mentions Havilah, 
Ethiopia, Assyria, the Euphrates, the land of Nod, 
and other places. 

My friends, it is a curious fact, if Moses was the 
author of the Pentateuch, or if these books had been 
in existence at all, at so early a period as alleged, that 
not the slightest mention should be made of them in 
any of the subsequeiU books of the Old Testament, 
until the return of the .Tews from the Babylonish cap- 
tivity. From .Toshua to the second book of Kings, 
(which was written after the captivity, as it gives an 
account of that event,) there is not the most remote 
allusion to any writings answering the Pentateuch, 
and even the name of Moses rarely occurs ! From 
all these considerations, therefore, we are warranted 
in affirming that the Pentateuch could not have been 
written until after the Babylonish captivity, at least 
— that is, nearly one thousand years subsequent to 
Moses. It is higlhy probable Ezra was the real au- 
thor of tliese books, and he lived only four hundred 
years before Christ. The Tahnudists, and the .lewish 
writers generally ascribe the Pentateuch to Ezra. In 
Nehemiah, we are told, as mentioned on a former oc- 
casion, that he was "inspired to re-write " the Jewish 
Scriptures, as they had been absolutely lost during the 
captivity. It was then, the Pentateuch was manufac- 
tured, and, therefore, we must esteem them as com- 
piratively modern. Of this we are certain — no writer 
can be cited as referring to them, until the collection 
made by the Ptolemies for the Alexandrian school, 
and of these, the Greek version, resting on no autho- 
rity, is the only one. This occurred only 300 years 
before Christ. I defy the priesthood to overturn this 
fact. The opinions I have thus given upon these wri- 
tings, is strongly confirmed by the fact, that many of 



106 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



lor 



the mysteries and dogmas recorded therein, are exact 
fac-similcs of the mysteries of the Babylonians. Tlie 
creation in six days, is a perfect copy of the Gahatis 
of Zoroaster, the founder of the Babylonish philoso- 
phy, and what is still more singnlar, the particulars 
of each day's work, are also j^recisehj similar, in every 
respect. The story of the serpent and the fall^ was 
long famons among that people. The mythological 
deluge of Oxyges is jvst the same as Noah' s flood, and 
the story of Adam and Eve in Paradise, is a mere 
copy of Zoroaster's first pair. The Talmnd expressly 
declares that tlic Jews borrowed the names of the 
angels, and even their months, from the Babylonians. 

The book of Cicnesis, has evidently been taken from 
that people, which could not have been done until 
after the captivity. Moses, therefore, could not have 
written that book. 

It is a vulgar belief among Christians, that Genesis 
is the oldest book in the world. A more egregious 
mistake, however, could not be entertained. 8ancho- 
niatho, the Phoenician historian, and the Hindoo and 
Chinese annals, are of much higher antiquity than 
Moses. The astronomical records of the Chinese, 
prove that there were men and astronomers in that 
country at the very time, the stupid Jews would per- 
suade us, all the inhabitants of the world, except Noah 
and his family, were drowned by the deluge ! Souceit 
mentions an eclipse of the sun, recorded in the Chi- 
nese history, which happened 215.5 years before 
Christ, which is but 256 years after the deluge, at a 
time when the Bible informs us the earth was only in- 
habited by the progeny of Noah ! while Egypt, at the 
very time, was then so peopled, that many cities could 
not contain the inhabitants, and China was not less 
populous. 

The Hindoo astronomical observations, as far as 
they have been examined by the most learned astro- 
nomers of the age, Baillie, Le Gentil, and others, 
carry their antiquity between four and five thousand 






years beyond our era, as may be seen in a paper writ- 
ten by the late Professor Playfair, of Edinburgh, and 
recorded in the second volume of the Philosophical 
Transactions. 

In leaving this subject, I shall adduce the authority 
of some of the most distinguished Jewish and Chris- 
tian writers, in corroboration of the position I have 
been maintaining. 

Eben Ezra, a celebrated Jewish author of the 
twelfth century, wrote a work to prove that Moses 
could not be the author of the book of Genesis, or of 
any of the five books attributed to him; and the fa- 
mous Jewish philosopher, Spinoza, who flourished in 
the sixteenth century, after quoting the opinions of 
Ebcn Ezra, shows that the Bible did not exist as a 
hook nntil the time of the Maccabees^ wliicli was more 
than one hundred years after the return of the Jews 
from the Babylonian captivity. The distinguished 
Christian father, *SV. Jerome, confesses that he ''dares'' 
not affirm that Moses was the author of the Penta- 
teuch, and admits that Ezra wrote those books. Sir 
Isaac Newton and Lord Barrington aflirm that it was 
neither Moses nor Ezra who wrote them, but Samuel. 
Dr. Geddes, declares that it was none of the three, but 
Solomon, who composed them. The Rev. W. Fox, 
in his sermons published in 1819, remarks " that the 
early part of Genesis is a compilation of ancient docu- 
ments, and not the writing of Moses, has been the 
opinion of some of the most able divines and si?icere 
believers." A writer in the '* Penny Cyclopoedia," 
article Hebrew, expresses a siihilar opinion. ''The 
language in which the Pentateuch is written," says 
he, '^ differs so little from that of David, Solomon, and 
Isaiah, w/io lived many centuries after the time of 
MosEs, that many critics, supposing it impossible that 
a language should have remained stationary for so 
man}' centuries, have maintained that none of the 
books of the Old Testament were written previous 
to the time of David and Solomon. It is 7iot very 
easy to disprove this position." So say I. 



108 



THK GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES, 



The distinguished Christian Professor, Dnpin, posi- 
tively asserts, that " we are not certainly assured of 
the true autliors of most of the books of the Old Tes- 
tament." liC ( M( re, also, as quoted by Dupin, inti- 
mates tliat the Pentateuch was a <^rcat deal more 
modern than Moses, and it may be conjectured to 
have been com|)osed by some Jeuis/t Priests, sent 
from Babylon to instruct the new inhabitants of 
Palestine. 

I must now liasten to review the remaining books 
of the Scriptures. Having devoted so much of our 
time to the Pentateuch, we shall, necessarily, be some- 
what brief whh the rest. 

Joshua — The objections urged against the books of 
Moses, will apply, in a great degree, to Joshua. It i 
written in the same neutral style. The historian, and 
not Joshua, speaks. The death and burial of Joshua 
is recorded, though we are to believe he himself wrote 
it ! In chap, xxiv., 29th and 3()th verses, it states, 
" And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua, 
the son of Nun, the servant of the liOrd, died, being 
one hundred and ten years old; and they buried him 
in the border of his inheritance, in Timnath-serah, 
which is Mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill 
of Gaash." 

T'he Christian priesthood declare, that Joshua is 
the author of a book containing this passage. How 
matchless is the impudence and stupidity of these 
men I In the following verse, (the 31st,) we read, 
"And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, 
and all the days of the elders that overlived .Foshua." 
In the name of reason could it be Joshua who here re- 
lates what people had done ages alter he was in 
heaven 1 

In the 27th ver. of the 6th chap., there occurs a 
passage which shows, if Joshua wrote it, that his 
modesty was in the same condition as tliat of his pre- 
decessor, Moses. It is given m the following classic 
language: "So the Lord was with Joshua, and his 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCIUPTUllES. 



109 



fame was noised tlirougliout all the country." There 
are many passages in Joshua which prove that that 
book could not liave been written until many centu- 
ries after the lime alleged by the Cliristian world. One 
of these is the following. Time will not admit of my 
giving more. It states, in the l.">th chap, of Joshua, 
ver. 63, that " the Jebusites dwell with the children 
of Judah at Jerusalem, unto this day." Now the Is- 
raelites did not dwell in Jerusalem, until after the time 
of David. Jerusalem did not come into the hands of 
the Jews, until subdued by David, as mentioned in 
the 2d Book of Samuel, chap, v., ver. 4 ; and in the 
Chronicles. This passage, therefore, could not be 
written until subsequent to the reign of David, that 
is, 370 years after the death of Joshua. When we 
take into account the expression, "unto this day," 
the l)ook could not be composed until long after even 
David's time, as those words im])ly a considerable in- 
terval between the period of writing, and the event 
referred to. 

We now come to J/fds^es. We need, sa}' little of 
this book. It must take the fate of .Toshua, beinj;, in 

7 07 

all probability, from the identity of the style, and 
other circuinstances, the Avork of tlie same pen. In 
the 1st chap., ver. 8, there is a similar reference to .Te- 
rnsalem, as in Joshua, "Now the children of .Tudah, 
had fought against Jerusalem, and ta/re}i it." This 
clearly evinces that the book could not have l)een writ- 
ten until after David's time, and my remarks upon 
this point, Avill be as valid in relation to Judges as 
Joshua. 



I pass, therefore, to Samncl, not deeming tlic silly 
and indecent story of Ru/h, worthy of notice. The 
books of Samuel arc evidently not written by him, 
unless he was "as clever as Moses and Joshua; for in 
the 1st Book, chap, xxv., ver. 1, there is an elaborate 
account of his death and funeral ! lliis event trans- 
pired, according to the i^ible chronology, \\i the year 
1060 B. c. ; yet the history of the very book, in which 

10 



110 



THE GENUrNENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



Ill 



his death is recorded, is brought down to the year 
105(), to the deatli of Saul, whicti occurred four years 
after thai of Samuel. The 2nd Book begins with the 
reign of JJavid, who succeeded Saul, and continues 
the history until J)avid's decrepitude, which did not 
occur until 43 years after the decease of Samuel. 
Tliesc books, therefore, are, in themselves, conclnsive 
evidence that they were not written by that proud 
and brutal priest. 

As to Kin^s and Chronicles — the four following 
books — they are acknowledged to be anonyrnmis. I 
need not, therefore, notice them, only to remark, that 
they must have l)een composed after the Babylonish 
captivity, as the 2nd Book of Kings gives an account 
of that event. This proves them to be comparatively 
modern. 

Ezra — This book may be genuine. Ezra probably 
wrote it at the time ha forced other books of the Old 
Testament, under the peculiarly priestly presumption, 
that he was "inspired" to "re-write" them. 

Nehcmiah — The next book, could not be written by 
that holy personage ; for in chap, xii., ver. 22, Jaddua, 
the priest, and Darius, the Persian king, are m.en- 
tioucd, who did not live until lOi) years after Nehc- 
miah was in his grave. Some one wrote this book 
who lived at least a century after Nehemiah's time. 

Esther — The following book, is confessedly anony- 
mous. 

The remaining books of the Old Testament are not 
so much historical, as a compound of proverbs, songs, 
and prophecies. 

Of the latter, I shall speak at length when I discuss 
the question of prophecy ; of the former, I may soon 
dispose. 

Job is evidently not a Jewish composition ; it has 
no affinity with any other book m the P>ible : it stands 
" alone in its glory." 'i'his was the opinion of some 
of the most learned Jews. j']ben Ezra and Spinoza 
have declared there is no evidence to prove that it is 



i 






a Jewish book. They maintain that it has been trans- 
lated from another language into Hebrew ; that the 
genius of the composition, and the drama of the piece 
is not Hebrew^ and tiiat some Gentile must be the au- 
thor. Nevertheless, this is the only decent book in the 
Old Testament, with the exception of the Proverbs, 
of which I shall speak presently. St. Gregory, in the 
Preface to his Commentary on the Book of Job, after 
stating that its author is zmknoicn^ observes, " 'Tis 
needless to inquire who composed the book of Job, 
since none of the faithfnl question that the Holy 
Ghost was the author of it." Now, if the authorship 
of .fob is unknown, how could the " faithful " knoio 
that the Holy (ihost wrote it '] If it be a fact that 
this strange writer was the "inspired" penman, the 
author is known — Holy Ghost ! ! Where did ho 
live 7 Where did he come from ? But we are grow- 
ing " blasphemus." W^e must proceed with our sub- 
ject. 

The book of Proverbs is ascribed to Solomon. 
There is every reason, however, to induce the belief 
that those proverbs are nothing but a collection of 
sayings, taken from other nations, besides the Jewish, 
and Solomon's name added to give them authority. — 
This opinion is confirmed by the 1st verse of the 25th 
chapter, which asserts that, " these are also proverbs 
of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, king of Ju- 
dah, copied out." Now, Hezekiah did not live until 
250 years after Solomon. How then could they cer- 
tainly know, at that distance of time, with no press 
to transmit them, that they were Solomon's ? What 
authority do they give for their genuineness 7 Abso- 
lutely none. 

Psalms — These pious songs, in point of order, 
should have been noticed after Job. The mass of 
Bible-readins: Christians ascribe them to David. — 
Hence, the general title in the Prayer Books, &c., 
*'The Psalms of David." I wonder if David wrote 
the 137th Psalm, which refers to an event which did 



112 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES 



not happen until 400 years after bo was defunct ! I 
mean the Babylonish captivity. " By the rivers of 
Rnhijhni we sat down, yea, we wept wlien we remem- 
bered Zion. We hani^ed our liar}>s upon the willows, 
in the midst thereof, for there tlwy lolw ntrricd us 
away captive, re([nired of us a song, saying, Sing us 
one of the songs of Zion." The more learned men 
admit that David composed only al)out a third of the 
Psalms. Some are ascri])ed to Moses and other godly 
penmen, no less than fifty being anonymous. It is 
an error or imposition, therefore, to speak of them as 
''the Psalms of David." 

A\ e will now brie rly notice the books of the New 
'I'estauKMit. First, of the Gospels. To disprove their 
genuineness, I nuist remind you, in the first ])lace, of 
the imi)ortant fact, as explained in my Second Dis- 
course, that the ///'.s/ time these books were mentioned 
was in the year 1S2, some learned men say 192. — 
There is no conclusive or satisfactory evidence they 
were in existence before diat date. Not one of the 
apostolic fathers allude to them, which they certainly 
would have done, had they been current. They refer 
to other gospels, but not in the most remote degree, do 
they allude to either Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. 

it', therefore, these gospels were not extant earlier 
than the days of Jreneus, (1S2) it is morally impossi- 
ble for them to have been comi)Osed by the four apos- 
tles just named, Jreneus not living until nearly a 
century after their time. The Christian father, Fauste, 
in his controversy with Augustine, about the year 
400, distinctly aiiirms, that the gospels are iiol !^emi- 
ine. He observes, " The books called the evangelists 
have been composed long after tlie times of the apos- 
tles, by some obsciu'c men, who, fearing that the world 
would not give credit to their relation of matters, of 
Schick they could not he informed^ Ijave published them 
viider the name of the apostles ; and which are so full 
of sottishness and discordant relations that there is 
neither agreement nor connexion between them." He 



the genuineness of the scriptures. 



113 



further remarks, " It is thus that your predecessors 
have inserted in the Scriptures of our Lord many 
thiugs, which, though they carry his naine^ agree not 
with his doctrine. This is not sur})rising, since that 
'ire have of ten proved these things have not been writ- 
ten by himself, nor by his apostles^ but, that for the 
greatest part, they arc founded upon talcs, u])on vague 
reports., and put togetlier^ but J know not what, lialf 
Jews, with but little agreement between them, and 
which they have, nevertheless, pntdislied under the 
iiauie (f the apo.stlrs of our Lord^ and have thus at- 
tributed to them their own errors and lies I '' Very 
polite, certainly, for a (.'hristian Bishop! Those who 
wish to verily these important extracts may refer to 
Boulangers I iife of Paul, who states that he has taken 
them from the writings of Augustine against Fauste. 
Boulanger also makers juiother astounding statement 
in the 2nd chapter of his work. "The Manicheans, 
who formed a ver}^ numerous sect at the commence- 
ment of Christianity, rejected as false all the books 
of the New Testament, and showed other writings 
quite dilferenr, which they gave as authentic." 

M. Simon, the learned French theologian, in his 
" Critical History of the text of the New Testament,'' 
assures us, that, " We have no solid proof in anticpii- 
ty to make it appear to us, that the names set at the 
headof ever}^ gospel were thereunto prelixed by those 
who are the authors of them." 

Du Pin, the Christian historian, expresses a similar 
opinion, and asserts, confidently, that we have only 
the testimony of the Fathers for the genuineness of 
the gospels. 

Those who heard my Third Address will know 
Avhat weight to give to their testiniiyiiy. M. Simon, 
himself, from whom I have just ([uoted, alluding to 
the Fathers at this time, says, '• We ought not too ea- 
sily to give credit to the first originals of churches, 
(the Fathers) every one strives to advance their anti- 
quity as jnuch as possible, and they make ?to scruple 

10* 



Ill 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



on such occasions, to counterfeit acts^ when tliey 
have none that arc true.'''' To rest, therefore, your be- 
lief in the genuineness of the gospel, upon the veracity 
of such men, is truly .preposterous. 

I iCt nie, however, give you internal proof that the 
gospels arc not genuine, which is worth a volume of 
external evidence. Matthew, chap, xviii., ver. 17, 
says, '*' If he neglect to hear the churchy let him be 
inito thee as a heathen man and a iHiblican." Now 
there was no church in the time of Jesus or Matthew. 
Cluirch is a (iroek word. The assembly of the peo- 
ple of Athens, styled '\[s(i\{ cedes ia. This expression 
was only adopted by the (Christians, in jvoccss of 
tiniCj when they had obtained a kind of govermncnt. 
A book containing such a passage, could not have 
been written by Matthew. 

Acts and the Epistles — Many of these writings 
have been repudiated as not genuine, by some one or 
other of the (Jhristian sects. Euscbius, in his third 
book, informs lis, that the epistles "which are gain- 
said, though well known to many, are, the Epistle of 
James, the Epistle of Jude, the latter of Peter, and 
the Second and Third of John." He also mentions 
that the Acts of Paul, and several others, were re- 
jected as spinious. Dr. Du Pin affirms that the l^pis- 
llo to the Hebrews, "has no ccrtahi name as the real 
author." Boulanger, hi his " Life of Paul," states, 
that the Marcionists, and other early Christian sects, 
rejected the Acts as forged, and that the sect called 
the Sevenians, adopted neither the Acts nor the Epis- 
tles of Paul. Chrysostom, in a homily which he 
made upon the Acts of the Apostles, says, that in his 
time, about the year 400, many people knew nothing 
either of the author or the book. The Ehronites, in- 
deed, who were the first Christians, rejected all the 
l^ipistles of Paul, and regarded him as an hnpostor — 
— a very sensible opinion. 

Revelations — The last book in the Bible, if we are 
to accredit many learned Christians, is like the rest 



THE GENUINENESS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



115 



■ — a pious fraud. One of these learned Christians is 
no less a person than Dionysius, Bishop of Alexan- 
dria, who nourished in the third century. His testi- 
mony has been repeatedly cited by modern Christians ; 
amongst whom is the Christian professor, Du I^in. 
The bishop broadly aflirms that " Divers of our prede- 
cessors have wholly refused and rejected this book, 
and by discussing the several chapt(^rs thereof, have 
found it obscure, and void of reasons, and the t'ltle 
for<redl ! ! Again, they said it was not John's, nay, 
it was no revelation at all; which was covered with 
so gross a veil of ignorance, and that there was none, 
either of the apostles, or of the saints, or of them 
which belonged to the church, the author of this book, 
but CorlntJuis, the author of the Corinthian heresy, 
instituting this as a figment in the name of John, for 
further credit and authority." We have internal evi- 
dence that this book could not have been written by 
John; for tlie writer refers to the cJinrch of Tjaodlcca^ 
and its sloth and corruptions, consequent upon its 
great riches and power. Now, this cliurch was not 
esta])lished until tlie middle of the second century, 
nearly 100 years after the time of John. A very 
clever man John must have been truly, to have men- 
tioned events which did not happen until upwards of 
a century after he had gone to " another and a better 
world ! " 

We have tested the genuineness of the respective 
books of the Old and Ncnv Testament, and in relation 
to tlie last — Revelations — the grand /?y^^//e of the Bible, 
we are actually told by a (liristian bishop, not only 
that it was not written by John, but is merely the 
composition of a heretic. 

O ! how long will the people support such im- 
posture 7 Will they never outgrow the credulity of 
their ignorant and superstitious ancestors '\ \\ ill they 
never aspire to mental manhood? Yes — rapidly are 
the masses disencumbering themselves from their in- 
tellectual trammels. The shackles of priestcraft al' 



116 



THE GENUINENKSS OF THE SCRIPTURES. 



ready sit loosely around them. A few sliort years of 
dauntless and luiremitting elibrt on the part of the 
friends of mental liberty, and the dismal temple of su- 
perstition and delusion will totter and fall, and on its 
ruins will be seen the glorious edifice of reason and 
enlightenment. The day will then really have ar- 
rived, wlien, as kSIicI ley observes, "falsehood's trade 
will be as hatel\d and unprolitable, as that of truth is 



now. 



LECTXTRE SEVENTH. 



PROPHECY. 



)■ 



Friends — 

I SHALL address you tliis evening on the subject o{ 
Prophecy, hi the estimation of many Christians, this 
is, indubitably, the most important, interesthig, and 
triumphant evidence in favor of the divmity of the 
Bible. Others, however, and they include some of the 
most learned, consider that considerable doubt and 
diificulty surround the question. Among the latter 
class, are divines of no less renown than Bishop Wat- 
son, Belsham, and Bishop Sherlock. 

Watson admits, that "no subject requires c?reater 
intellectual energy than the elucidation of j)rophecy. 
It is a boisterous sea of controversy.^^ — [Life of Wat- 
son, vol. iii., p. 385. 

Belsham observes, in his Evidences, pages 7G and 
112, "I find it f/;/^'c?//^ to satisfy myself, that I fully 
comprehend the true meaning and extent of the pro- 
phetic language. To understand it satisfactorily, it 
must be proved— First, that the Jews ivere favored 
^with a revelation from God; Secondly, That their 
sacred books contain a scries of prophecies, which re- 
ceived their proper accomplishment in the person and 
character of Jesus of Nazareth ; and to the validity of 
this argument, there must be— First, sufficient evi- 
dence that the prophecy was delivered prior to the 
event. Secondly, Tliat the event was beyond the 



118 



I 



PROPHECY. 



reach of hitman sagacity to foresee or calculate; .^nd, 
Thirdly, the clear and })alpable fiillilmeiit of tlib pro- 
phecy ifi the event." 

In subsequent observations, I shall show, that the 
Scripture prophecies do not conform to the rules of the 
learned gentleman, and therefore, according to his ar- 
gument, cannot be received. 

Bishop Sherlock declares, in his Discourse, page 31, 
" that many of the latter prophecies are still dark and 
obscure^ and so far from evidently belonging to Christ, 
and Christ only, that it requires much learning and 
sagacity to show, even now, the connection between 
some prophecies and the events." 

These few extracts, from (Christians of no mean 
celebrity, clearly evince the great ditliculty the jj? test- 
hood experience in attempting to establish the divinity 
of their Scriptures upon prophecy. 

Hence we find that some of the most laborious and 
volinninous writings ever published, have been iq)on 
this vague and speculative topic. Dr. Keith has 
waded through an immense mass of useless learning 
and idle display, in order to prove the fulfilment of the 
])rophecies. The Rev. Mr. JVetts, too, though he pro- 
fesses to have compressed his arguments, fills a 
volume of 816 pages, with a Dissertation upon the 
subject; aud Bishop Newton has presented the world 
with a production of 1200 pages on the same question, 
and yet informs his readers that he has studied 
brec'dy ! 

I probably may be considered ungrateful, after the 
exercise of such patience and research, by so many 
learned men, when I say that 1 deem such works a 
complete waste of time and paper — a mass of religious 
rubbish. 

Were the whole of the arguments they adduce, in 
these ponderous volumes, irrefragably demonstrated, 
I siill maintain they have done nothini^ to decide the 
question at issue. VV ere we to concede all that these 
learned gentlemen require — were we to allow that 



PROPHECY. 



110 



f 



every one of the prophecies from Genesis to the Reve- 
lations were fulfilled to the very letter, I nevertheless 
aver they have done absolutely nothing to decide that 
the Bible is the word of God. This may be deemed 
a somewhat bold and unwarrantable assumption on 
my part, but I reiterate it. 

My reasons for making an assertion so unqualified, 
are, first, because I hold that prophecy does not 7icces- 
5a7% imply divine inspiration. Prophecies may be 
made, and may be fulfilled without divine interposi- 
tion. See the prophecies of the oracles of Greece, par- 
ticularly those of Diana and Delphos, the prophecies 
of Lactantius, St. Cesaire, Yirgil, Seneca, Dr. John- 
son, Napoleon, Lord Chesterfield, and the Cornish 
propliecies, recorded by Polewell, in his history of 
Cornwall, and Sir John Davis, in his Discoveries, 
page 7/, the former being in relation to the destruc- 
tion of Paul's Church, Penzance, and New Lynn, long 
before they were in existence; and the latter, relative 
to the subversion of Ireland. Secondly, prophecies 
are not peculiar to the Christian religion. They may 
be found in the '' sacred " writings of other religions 
and are as well attested as the Bible prophecies, l^ho 
celebrated Hindoo prophecy, mentioned by Col. Wilkes, 
in his Hindoo sketches, a prophecy singularly fulfilled 
in the person of Sevajce, the conqueror and deliverer 
of that people, is a ease in point. Therefore, if pro- 
phecy necessarily implies divine inspiration, these 
books arc inspired ; and hence there must be a multi- 
plicity of "divine revelations "—" words of God" — 
an idea at once incongruous and absurd. The argu- 
ment of propliecy leads to a rcductio ad absurdum, 
and therefore cannot be considered conclusive. 

What IS a Prophecy? Dr. Johnson says that it is 
prediction," and to predict is to '^ foretell:' Now, 1 
af firm that the power of foretelling or prognostication 
IS in the possession of every human being, according 
to the capacity of his intellect, and the extent of his 
knowledge and experience. There is scarcely a day 



120 



PROPHECY. 



passes but every individual prophecies more or less. 
I will appeal to your every day experience, whether 
you have not repeatedly affirmed that such and such 
circumstances will take place, and whether in some 
instances, at leaat^ you liave not found j^ourself cor- 
rect? 

So far as your prediction was verified, so far, ac- 
cording to the logic ot the orthodox, were you inspired. 
Prophecy, therelbre, under such circumstances, be- 
comes an ordinary rather than extraordinary event — 
a hmnati rather than a supcr-hunian attainment ;. and, 
consequently, not one by which you can legitimately 
determine the divinity of Scripture. 

But I may be told diat the "pious" mean only 
those predictions which extend to himdreds of years, 
and not to mere local and passing events. (Granting 
this, it still docs not improve their position, for precise- 
ly tlie same arguments will bear against tJils view of 
tlie subject as the other. I can cite cases, if it be ne- 
cessary, where prophecies have been made by men 
who had no jnctensions at all to divine inspnation, 
which have evidently related to events which hap- 
pened centuries subsccpient to the time of prediction, 
and which did happen. See the case of St. (.'esane. 
Bishop of Aries, page 542, given in a book, entitled, 
liiber Mirabilis, which has been verified at the King's 
Library, at Paris, where there is an original. His 
prophecy is in relation to the French Revolution, and 
is quite as remarkable as any in the Bible. It is as 



follows 



The administration of France shall, at a 



future and distant period, be so blinded that they shall 
leave it without defenders ; the hand of God shall ex- 
tend itself over them, and likewise over all the rich ; 
all the 7iobles shall be deprived of their estates and 
division shall spring up in the clmrcli of 



dignities 



(iod, and there shall be tvv^o husl)ands, the one true 
and the other adulterous — the Ibrmer shall be put to 
flight. There shall be a great carnage^ and as great 
an elfusion of blood as in the time of the Gentiles. — 



PROPHECY. 



121 



The universal church, and the whole world shall de- 
plore the ruin of a celebrated city, the capital and the 
mistress of France. The altars of the temple shall 
be destroyed : the holy virgins razed out, shall fly 
from their convents, and the church shall be stripped 
of her temporal goods ; but, at length, the black eagle 
and the lion shall appear, arriving from other coun- 
tries. Then, misery be to thee, oppressed city of 
opulence ! Thou shalt, at first, rejoice, but thy end 
shall come. Misery be to thee, O city of philosophy ! 
Thou shalt be subjected — a captive Icings humbled 
ciwn to the dust^ shall, at last, recover his crown, and 
shall destroy the city of impiety." Such is the extra- 
ordinary prophecy of St. Cesaire. Those acquainted 
with the history of the French Revolution, will per- 
ceive its applicability to that memorable event. The 
editor of the work, from which this prophecy is taken, 
shows its application to that catastrophe, in the fol- 
lowing lucid manner: " The vassal, who looked not 
on the noble as his natural protector and guardian, 
but as an oppressor, arose against him, the soldier 
against the officer, the officer against the general, and 
the servant against his master. Chaos was again re- 
stored, the holy altars were overturned, the convents 
defiled and pillaged, nobles reduced to the rank of 
l)rivate citizens, to save even life itself The hum- 
blest of citizens and menials arose to power and des- 
potism — so dreadfully was this prophecy y////i//eG?. At 
length, even the hlack eagle, the ensign of the north- 
ern power, and the lion, that of Britain, gained pos- 
session of Paris, the self-dignified city of philosophy, 
strip})cd her of her ill-gotten spoil, and, as a punish- 
ment of her abuse of power over other States, caused 
again to reign over her a king, that may have been 
truly said to have been huml)led even to tlie dust.^^ 

This prophecy is worth all the Bible-prophecies put 
together. Not one of them are fulfilled so literally. — 
And yet it is made by one who had no pretensions to 
divine inspiration ; made too, more tliaii 1200 years 

11 



122 



PROPHECY. 



before the circumstances referred to, occurred ! Fak iii g, 
then, the word prophecy, either m a hunted or extend- 
ed signification, the arguments of the orthodox, bubtd 
upon that kuid of evidence, are neutralized and in- 

vahdated. 

Having shown that the testimony of prophecy is 
inadmissible lu deciding the diviniti/ of the Bible, we 
shall proceed to prove that, even granting that this 
evidence is conclusive, the Scripture propiiecies are 
not of a nature to demonstrate that the book is divine. 
I have four distinct objections to these prophecies :— 

1. That many of them were not written until after 
the events prophccied had occurred, which I conceive 
to be a very ^'■ood objection. 

2. Their vague and indefinite character, proving 
that they could not be given by inspiration from am- 

IllSClCHCC. 

3. That those prophecies which are clear and dis- 
tinct have not been fuljilled. 

4. The lying character of the Bible prophets. 

In reference to this last objection, ample evidence 
will be found in its support, in Hosea, chap, ix., verses 
7 8, where the prophet is denounced as ^ fool and a 
snare; Micah, chap, iii., verses 5 and 11, where it is 
said the prophets only divine for money nnd deceive 
the people : Lamentations of Jeremiah, chap, ii., v. 14, 
they told vain and foolish things ; Isaiah, chap, ix., 
verses 15 and 28, verse 7, it is said they teach lies 
and are dninken, (This quite agrees with the Chris- 
tian DodwelFs statement, that they prepared them- 
selves to prophecy by drinking wine. They might 
well get drnnk. They were indeed " sjjiritualists.'') 
Zachariah, chap,xiii., verses 2 and 4, gives the pleas- 
two- intelhgence that the "Lord" will root them all 
out of the land, and make them ashamed of^ them- 
selves ; 1 Kings, chap, xxii., verses 22, 23; Ezekiel, 
chap, xiv., v. 9 ; Jeremiah, chap, xx., v. 7, God himself 
is represented not only as deceiving the prophets, and 
causing them to err, but instructing them in the art 



PROPHECY. 



123 



and mystery of lying! What confidence can be 
placed in such a gang of liars and impostors, who 
were always squabbling among themselves and ac- 
cusing each other of lying and deceiving? They 
were like our modern (^uacks, who cry " Take my 
pills and beware of counterfeits^ 

With respect to the remaining three objections, tliey 
Avill be substantiated in the course of my remarks on 
the respective predictions. 1 shall, of course, only 
notice the more important. If these be invalidated, 
the minor fall with them. 

The dispersion of the Jens is the first prophecy I 
shall notice. It is given in Dent. chap, xxviii. This 
prophecy the Christians allirm is the most remarkable 
on record. I can only say that had it been given so 
early as stated, it would have been worthy of notice. 
Bnt such was not the fact. Moses did not write Deu- 
teronomy. We have proved, in previous addresses, 
that the Pentateuch was not mentioned until after the 
Babylonian captivity, and that Ezra must have been 
the writer of these books. Now. Ezra flourished only 
400 ijcftrs before Christ, after the Jews had been dis- 
membered, and lived in slavery for years. It was no 
diflicult task, therefore, at that time, to predict their 
dispersion. The wonder, in fact, would have been if 
it had been predicted that they would not liave been 
dispersed. But even supposing Moses had been the 
writer, there is nothing in the prophecy so singularly 
remarkable — nothing beyond the grasp of human fore- 
sight. The Jews, from time immemorial, were ex- 
ceedingly rebellious, cruel, insolent, and pragmatical ; 
and Moses, therefore, might easily have anticipated 
that the first great nation which arose would attempt 
their subjection, in which they would easily succeed, 
the Jews, with all their audacity and brutality, being 
naturally cowards. It required no divine inspiration 
to foretell such events. As striking prognostications 
iiave been given m relation to other nations, by wri- 
ters not presuming to miraculous agency, and which 



I 



121 



PROPHECY. 



have proved true. This prophecy, therefore, if ful- 
filled to the very letter, by iio means establishes the 
divinity of Scripture. . 

Unfortunately, however, there are parts ot this pre- 
diction, and they are the most exphcit, which have 
not been fulfilled. In verse (34, it states that the Jews 
when scattered shall worship other gods, which neith- 
er they nor their lathers had known, "even wood and 
stone." But is such the case I Do they worsliip such 
gods now that they are scattered I On the contrary, 
is it not proverbial, that the .lews are the most tena- 
cious of the religion of their forefathers of any people 

upon earth ? 

And, again, in verse 15, we are told that the Jews 
shall experience this misery and subjection for their 
disobedience of his (.Moses's) ritual. Is such the real 
reason of their present dispersion? Conlessedly not. 
It is owing to the jx^wer of the l^gyptians in the lirst 
instance, then the Uhaldcans, and thence down to the 
Romans. it was these causes, combined with their 
national character, that led to their present condition. 
Apart, however, from these considerations, this proph- 
ecy cannot be fulfilled until the Jews are restored.— 
We are told, chap, xxx., that the Lord " will gather 
them from all nations, whereunto he hath scattered 
them.'' Jlas he done so? Are the Jews restored? 
True, there has been an idle rumor abroad of late, 
that some parties were going to pitrchase Jerusalem, 
in which the Jews might assemble, and thus verity 
the prediction. But " don't they wish they may get 
it," as the somewhat vulgar adage has it ? If they 
do, it only shows that prophecies are marketnhle com- 
niodilies— things that may be bought and sold. Such 
proimostications depend for fulfilment, not \^\yo\\ dieir 
sinntnaL but money value— not upon their " divmc 
mspiration/' but upon wiiat they will sell for— no 

more. . 

in chap, xlix., v. 10, of Genesis, there is the follow- 
ing passage which has been twisted by our priests 



I' 



#• 



PROPHECY. 



125 



into a prophecy of the cmmiff of Christ :—^^ The 
sceptre shall not depart from .hidah, nor a lawgiver 
from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and imto 
him shall the gaihermg of the people be." It remains 
to be proved that the word Shiloh signifies Christ, and 
could apply to no one else. Besides, it is uol true that 
the sceptre was wielded by the tribe of Judah at the 
time Jesus is said to have appeared, for long before 
that period the Jews had submitted to the Romans. — 
'IMiey had, also, before that, been in captivity to the 
Assyrians for seventy years, during which it cannot 
be pretended that a vestige of royalty remained in 
Judah, or in any other of the tribes. This prediction, 
therefore, cannot apply to Christ ; or, if it does, the 
prophecy is an utter failure. Moreover, whether the 
prediction be true or false, it could not have been giv- 
en by Jacol), as stated in this chapter, for Ac could not 
know that tJie Jews were ever ruled by a sceptre, as 
Saul, the first Jewish king, did not live until hundreds 
of years after Jacob. 

Wc must now notice tlie famous passage in Isaiah, 
chap, vii., v. 11, another prophecy of the coming of 
Christ. It begins, " Behold a virgin shall conceive 
and bear a son," iVc. If this has any reference to the 
apiwarance of Christ, it is exceedingly strange that it 
should be so vague and indefinite in all the details. — 
It is utterly destitue of all the properties of perspicu- 
ous prediction — a fact which ])rovcs that it could have 
no relation to such an important event as the birth of 
the "Son of Cod." The only thing definite in this 
memorable prophecy is the name of the child to be 
born, which is not Christ. The name of the mother 
of the child is not stated, nor any of the circumstances 
said to be connected with the birth of "our Siiviour." 
Several more enlightened Christians are now aban- 
doning this once pet'prophecy as untenable. Michael- 
is, the learned Christian professor, says (p. 212,) he 
"cannot be persuaded that the famous prophecy in 
Isaiah, chap, vii., v. 14, has the least reference to the 

11* 



126 



PROPHECY. 



Messiah." The .Tews, themselves, who oiisht to im- 
derstciiid the nieaiiiug of tlieir own book, most solemn- 
ly deny that this prophecy refers to Jesus Christ.— 
*^ These prophecies," say they, in " Israel vmdicated, 
1S23, " have repeatedly been shown by our llabbis to 
have'a different meaning from that given them by the 
Christians, which it is impossible for any one to mis- 
take whose mind is not predisposed to shut out the 
h<dit of truth." They charge the Christians, m bol. 
Bennett's Reply, 1809, with having "changed, in the 
original, nouns, verbs, tenses and meanings ! 

The real nature of this celebrated passage will be 
seen on reading the context. You will perceive that 
it has not the slightest reference to the coming of a 
Messiah some 700 years subsequent to the time of 
Isaiah, but only to mere local and immediate events. 
The plain meaning is simply this :— The King of 
Syria, and the King of Israel, (for, at this period, the 
Jews were divided under two kings) made war/om^ 
airainst Ahaz, King of Judah, and marched their^ ar- 
mies towards Jerusalem, the capital of Ahaz. The 
latter, with his people, were alarmed; and, according 
to verse 2, "Their hearts were moved, as trees of 
Wood are moved with the wind." At this moment 
the propliet Isaiah addressed himself to Ahaz, in the 
usual cant parlance, "The name of the l^ord," as- 
suring him that these two kings should not succeed 
against him. To convince Ahaz that this should be 
the case. Isaiah requested him, as was die practice of 
the prophets at that period, to ask a sign. He declined, 
however, stating, as a reason, that he would not 
"tempt the Lord." Isaiah then said, as given in 
verse 14, "Therefore, the Lord himself shall give yoii 
a sign, behold a virgni shall conceive and bare a son," 
and verse 16 states, "And before this child shall 
know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land 
which thou abhorrcst (meaning Syria and the king- 
dom of Israel), shall be forsaken of both her kings ; 
and It shall come to pass, that the Lord shall hiss 






PROPHECY. 



127 



(why not whistle?) for the flies that are in the brooks 
of Egypt, and for the bees that are in the land of Sy- 
ria." A pity but the " Lord " could have found some- 
thing better to do ! But the story continues, " In the 
same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is 
hired, viz.. by them that is beyond the river, by the 
King of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet, 
and it shall also consume the beard." 

Here, then, was the sign, and the time limited for 
the performance of the prophecy ; viz., before the 
child could distinguish the good from the evil. It 
was necessary for the prophet to see to the fulfilment 
of his prediction; and, accordingly, we are told, in 
the next chap., verses 2 and 3, that Isaiah got the 
prophetess with child, which, when born, was to be 
called (by command of the Lord, of course,) by the 
strange name of Mahei'-shalal-hash-baz. Thus was 
this absurd and obscene prediction verified. 

The evangelist, Matthew, and the Christian priest- 
hood after him, pretend to found the theory of what 
they call the gospel, upon this silly and indecent tale. 
They pretend to apply it to the birth of a person who 
lived 700 years subsequent to this period. Is not such 
gross perversion calculated to sicken every enlighten- 
ed mind with Christianity 7 

It is only necessary to read Book 2, of Chronicles, 
chap, xxviii., where the rest of this story is given, to 
find the impositioii which Isaiah practised upon poor 
Ahaz. Instead of these two kings falling, as he as- 
sured Ahaz tliey would, Aliaz himself was beaten, 
and his army destroyed. 

To say that this prophecy refers to Christ, is as 
much as to assert, that Isaiah would tell Ahaz that 
these two kings should not prevail against him until 
a child was born, 700 years after he was in his " final 
resting-place." 

The Jewish priesthood maintain, that the sign al- 
luded to, in this passage, was only the wife of Isaiah, 
as the Hebrew word for virgin, alma, was applied, 
not un frequently, to married women. 



128 



PROPHECY. 



We shall now remark upon that favorite prophecy 
of the Christians, relative to the birth-place of Christ. 
It is said to have been made by the prophet, Micah, 
as recorded in chap, v., ver. 2, of the l^ook having his 
name. -' Bnt thon, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou 
be little among the thousands of Jndah, yet out of thee 
shall he como forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Is- 
rael ; whose goings forth have been from of old, from 
everlasting." The evangelist, Matthew, pretends to 
quote this passage in chap, i., though he (juotes it in 
a very incorrect and bungling manner, and applies it 
to the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. It is easy to be 
seen, however, by any one who will use his own in- 
tellect, and not pay other men for thinking for him, 
that this passage can have no reference to such a per- 
son as Jesus Christ ; for it is stated in ver. 5, of the 
same chapter, that, "This man, (meaning he who 
was to be ruler in Israel,) shall be at peace when the 
Assyrian shall come into our land; and when he shall 
tread in our palaces, then shall we raise up against 
him, (that is, against the Assyrian,) seven shepherds 
and eight principal men." And in ver. 6, it stales, 
*' And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the 
sword, and the land of Nimrod, on the entrance there- 
of: thus shall he, (the person spoken of,) deliver us 
from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and 
when he treadeth within our borders." These pas- 
sages evidently refer to a iniUtary chief, and cannot 
mea!i Christ. The circumstances of the times spoken 
of, and those in which Christ lived, are in contradic- 
tion to each other. Strange to say, it was the Romans, 
and not the Assyrians, (a very different people,) who 
were in the land of Judea, and ''trod in their pala- 
ces," at the period Christ is said to have been born 
and died ; and, so far from he driving them out, it 
was under them that he suffered death. They drove 
him out pretty effectually, and held possession of the 
land long afterwards. These facts, therefore, abso- 
\n\Q\Y falsify the prophecy that it applies to Christ— 



PROPHECY. 



129 



«h 



t 



proves, that like the other propliecics of this book of 
absurdities^-it is no prophecy at all. 

We will briefly remark upon ihe prophecy of the 
destruction of l^abylon, in Isaiah, chap. xiii. Chris- 
tians are particularly fond of this prediction. Dr. 
Keith devotes nearly 100 pages to this subject. We 
hold, notwithstandmg the dogmatism of the Doctor, 
that this prognostication was not given until after the 
event had really occiUTcd, or about the time; and. 
therefore, could be no prediction at all. I aflirm this 
upon the fact that the Book of Isaiah, in which this 
prophecy is recorded, was not written until that pe- 
riod. We are taught by the Christian priesthood, to 
believe that the Book of Isaiah was composed some 
730 years before Christ, while, in reality, it could not 
have been in existence until two centuries subsequent 
to that date, wliich will bring us to the period of 
Babylon's downfall. In the latter part of chap, xliv., 
and beginning of xlv., reference is made to Cyrus, al- 
lowing the .Tews to return to Jerusalem. This event 
did not take place until the year 536, b. c., about 170 
years after Isaiah's death. I, therefore, deduce three 
circumstances from this fact. First, that the book called 
Isaiah, was not written by him. Secondly, that it could 
not have been written until nearly 200 years after his 
time. And, thirdly, being composed at that period, 
the prophecy of the demolition of the famous city in 
question, could not have been given until either du- 
ring the catastrophe, or subsequent to it ; and conse- 
quently, can be no prediction at all. How the Chris- 
tian clergy can have the audacity to present such a 
passage as an evidence of divine inspiration, I know 
not, except that upon these points, the points of re- 
ligion, they are destitute of all shame! 

In reference to the prophecy of Daniel, chap, ix., 
ver. 24 — 27, about the seventy weeks, and its appli- 
cation to Christ — of which Christian priests have 
talked so exultingly — little need be said to show its 
untenability. Dr. Francis has set this question at 
rest. My time, I am sorry to say, will not admit of 



130 



PROPHECY. 



my giving the Doctor's remarks, as they are very 
elaborate. 1 may simply observe, that it cannot ap- 
ply to Jesns Christ ; for, if from the going forth of the 
commandment in the timeof Artaxerxcs Longimanus, 
until the coming of the Messiah, there were to be 
seven weeks, or forty-nine years, (the seventy weeks 
are supposed to moan seven years each,) how docs 
this agree with wliat follows, ver. 26, " After tlireescorc 
and two weeks, (or more than 100 years,) shall Mes- 
siah be cut olf ? " And, again — " lie shall confirm the 
covenant with many /or a v:eek^''' ver. 27. Did, then, 
Jesus Christ live more than 400 years ] Or, did he 
confirm any covenant with many for seven years '] — 
Most certainly not. Christ's ministry did not continue 
longer than threc-and-a-half years ; or, according to 
some learned divines, not longer than Vi fwdvc-month ; 
and his lifetime, altogether, only extended to thirty- 
three years. Dr. Francis shows that it is Judas Mac- 
cabees, the deliverer of the Jews — and not of Christ, 
that the prophet speaks. Clement Alexandrinus, Cal- 
met and other Christian writers flatly deny the appli- 
cation of the weeks of Daniel to Jesus. Those who 
maintain die allirmative, lose sight of the context, for- 
get chronology, and evince to what a pitch of delu- 
sion their minds have arrived. 

The favorite Christian prophecy is that given by 
Christ, in Matthew, chap. xxiv. He foretells the de- 
struction of Jerusalem. There is nothing, we con- 
ceive, at all remarkable in this prediction. Any man, 
of ordinary foresight, might have anticipated such an 
event, taking into consideration the character of the 
Jews, and the position of surrounding nations. Rome 
was then the mistress of the world. She had deluged 
Europe with blood — darkened it with desolation — and 
was still disposed to crush every empire that might 
deny her supremacy. Knowing this, and being aware 
of the insolent and rebellious character of the Jews, 
it was quite natural that Christ, or any other person 
might have predicted the demolition of Jerusalem. It 
would have been a miracle had it not been destroyed. 



^} 



PROPHECY. 



131 



What was the fact ? The Jews rebelled against the 
Roman authority ; the consequence being, "their city 
was destroyed, and they were scattered. Is there 
anythmg extraordinary in this 7 Is there anything 
requiring divine inspiration to foresee? Evidently 
not. But what proof have we that this prophecy was 
given before the event? I challenge the Christians to 
produce it. We know that Matthew, in which this 
prediction is recorded, as well as the other gospels, 
were not mentioned as having existence earlier than 
the year 182, or, as some divines held, 192, a. d., as 
shown at length in my second and last address. This 
would be more than a century after the destruction of 
Jerusalem, that event occurring a. d., 70. How mod- 
est to state that a prophecy is given in a book which 
was not known till more than 100 years after the 
event predicted had actually happened ! How easy 
to manufacture a good prophecy under such circum- 
stances ! I may be told, Matthew is supposed to have 
been written a. d., G 1. Yes — supposed, and a very 
necessary supposition, I should think, for the safety 
of the prophecy. But is mere conjecture to be taken 
^s proof J Of course, when it suits the interests of 
priests. However, we will suppose as they desire in 
this instance — and what then '? Why, it brings the 
book to have been written only six years before the 
event prophecied took place ! What wonderfid sagaci- 
ty — what a large dose of inspiration it would require 
to foresee such an event at such an immense distance 
of time! What a pity the priests had supposed the date 
of its composition to be a little earlier ! but even they 
had not the impudence even to suppose such as thing. 
But whether this prophecy was given before or after 
the event, it was not fulfdled ; and, therefore, can be 
no evidence in favor of the divinity of the Bible. We 
must take into account the whole of the prophecy, and 
we shall discover it is a most miserable failure. In 
verses 20, 30, and 34, it states, " Immediately after 
the tribulation of those days (that is, the destruction 
of Jerusalem), shall the sun be darkened, and the 



r 



132 



PROPHECY. 



PROPHECY. 



13:^ 



moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall 
from heaven, and the powers of the heavens sliall be 
shaken ; and then there shall appear the sign of ilie 
son of man in heaven ; and then shall all the tribes 
of the ear til mourn, and they sliall see the son of 
man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and 
great glory, and he shall send his angels with a great 
sound of the trumpet ; and they shall gather together 
the elect from the four winds, from one end of lieavcn 
to the other. Verili/, I say unto you. this getie7\Uiou 
shall not pass aicay till ALL these things are fnl- 
Jilled.^^ Here is a prophecy so clear and distinct that 
there is no mistaking its meaning. But was it ful- 
filled f Is the world destroyed ? Your presence here 
this moment is a living denial. Not only has that 
generation "passed away," but 7/i«W7/, and still the 
world is not at an end. The sun has not been dark- 
ened, nor has the moon ceased to give her light, and 
the stars still shine in brilliant splendor, as if in mock- 
ery of such a monstrous prediction. They still ride 
in triumph through the fields of space, spreading light 
and warmth to an admiring world. O ! Christians, 
where is your modesty — your honesty in declaring 
such passages as a divine prognostication, when every 
moment of your lives belies the prediction? O! when 
will you blush at your unparalleled impudence? But 
what say you of the Second Advent ? Did Christ 
appear again immediately after the siege of Jerusalem, 
as predicted in this prophecy"? Was he seen "com- 
ing in the clouds of heaven with power and great 
glory?" gathering together '-the elect" from the 
four winds, irom one end of heaven to the other? — 
No ! He never appeared. No such phenomena were 
exhibited. And yet "«// these things" were to hap- 
pen before that generation had passed away ! Hov/ 
monstrous to affirm such a prediction to be fulfilled ! 
None but priests or their dupes could commit such lui 
audacious outrage upon experience and common sense. 
One more prophecy, and I have done. In Mark, 
chap, xvi., Christ is represented assaying, "Go ye 



4 



imto all the world, and preach the gospel to every 
creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall t)e 
saved, but he that believeth not, shall be damned. — 
And these signs shall follow them that believe : in my 
name they .shall cast out devils, (a very respectable 
trade, truly !) they shall speak with new tongues ; they 
shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly 
poison, it shall not hurt them ; they shall lay hands 
on the sick and they shall recover." 

Da such things attend those? who believe in Christ? 
Can Christians cast out devils ? If they could, there 
would be less need of the parsons. Can they take 
poison with impunity ? Doctors^ I have no doubt, 
would then be at a discount. ^ Can they play with 
serpents with impunity? Can they lay their hands 
on the sick and they will recover? Can they do any 
of these things? It is a mockery to ask the (luestion. 
Here, then, is the plainest prophecy in the whole of 
the Bible, and given by Christ hi:ii.sclf, proved to l)e 
an absolute, unqualified, downright failure ! 

To expose more of these prophecies in one discourse, 
would be impossil>le; and, if possible, would be un- 
necessary. The rest are more or less dependent upon 
these, and must stand or fall with them. They dis- 
play the most impudent perversion of language and 
sense, and amusnigly exhibit the marvellous ability 
of our theologians in prophecy-making. To show 
their inveterate propensity to prediction-mongcring, I 
need but mention, that John Hawkins, l^sq. proves 
that Britain is the kingdom which Daniel declarer 
God will set up ! Captain John Maitland illustrntcs 
the prophecies of Daniel by Revelations ! J. H. Freio, 
Esq. proves that Daniel, Lsdras, and St. John, havo 
Ixjen accomplished in the life of Bonaparte ; and the 
ex-King of Sweden pronounces F?f>naparle to be the 
beast in Revelations ! Dr. Winston, a celel)rate(l pro- 
fessor, of Cambridge^ ronsidc rod that .Mary Tofts 
having, according to p<)pular belief, brought forth rab- 
bits, was an accompli.-^hnujut of a prophecy in Dbdriui ! 

1'^ 



134 



PROPHECY. 



Mr. Faber engages in wholesale discoveries of this 
kind, while his friend, Mr. Burt, helps hnn in the re- 
tail trade, saynig, " that appearances give considera- 
ble weight to Dr. Faber's supposition of the battle of 
Armageddon, in the holy land; and thus an Irish 
legislator, (when deranged,) insisted that Armaged- 
don meant Armagh, because, in the Apocalyptic ver- 
sion, something is incidentally said oijiiie linen!'' 

I shall conclude this discourse, by a brief quotation 
from a man who has done most in uprooting the in- 
iquitous dominion of priestcraft and superstition. — 
Thomas .Paine, that immortal writer, shrewdly ob- 
serves : -' According to the modern meaning of the 
word prophecy, and prop>hecying, it signifies fore- 
telling events to a great distance of time, and it be- 
came necessary to the inventors of the gospel, to give 
it this latitude of meaning, in order to apply, or to 
stretch what they call the prophecies of the Old Tes- 
tament to those of the New. But, according to the 
Old Testament, the prophecying of the seer, and after- 
wards of the prophet, so far as the word seer was in- 
corporated into that of the prophet, had reference only 
to the things then passing, or very closely connected 
with it, such as the event of a battle they were going 
to engage in, or of a journey, or of an enterprise they 
were going to undertake, or of any circumstance then 
pending, or of any difficulty they were then in, all of 
which had immediate reference to themselves, (as in 
the case already mentioned, of Ahaz and Isaiah, with 
respect to the expression, ' Behold, a virgin shall con- 
ceive, and bear a son,' &c.,) and not to any distant 
future time. It was that kind of prophecying, that 
corresponds to what we call fortime-telling ; such as 
casting nativities, predicting riches, fortunate or un- 
fortunate marriages, conjuring for lost goods, &xi., and 
it is the priest of the Christian church, not that of the 
Jews, and the ignorance and superstition of modern, 
not that of ancient times, that elevated these poetical,' 
musical, conjuring, dreaming, strolling gentry, into 
the rank they have since held.'' 



T 



i 



LECTURE EIGHTH. 



MIRACLES. 



Friends — 

The subject upon which I propose to address you 
this evening, is Miracles. The mass of Christians, 
especially the ignorant and credulous, attach supreme 
importance to this testimony, wliile a few of the more 
advanced are disposed to rest their faith entirely upon 
other evidence. In this class, we find Bishop New- 
ton, Foster, Desvaeux, Cardinal dc Retz, Dr. Middle- 
ton, and Bishop Fleetwood. These gentlemen recom- 
mend Christians to ^'reject miracles, — nay, 10,000 
miracles, let them be ever so well attested, if they 
sanction any doctrine contrary to truth, reason and 
morality." "For, otherwise," says Mr. Desvaeux, 
in his Treatise on Miracles, " we should never have 
done examining miracles." The Cardinal de Retz re- 
marks, when rejecting a celebrated Catholic miracle, 
*' it was not necessary, in order to reject a facf of this 
kind, to be able accurately to disprove the testimony, 
and to trace its falsehood through all the circumstan- 
ces of knavery and credulity which produced it. He 
knew that this was commonly altogether impossible 
at any small distance of time and place, so it was ex- 
tremely dillicult, even were one present on the spot, 
on account of the bigotry, ignorance, cunning, and 
roguery of a great part of mankind." He, therefore, 
concluded that such evidence carried falsehood on the 



1 9i^ 



Jo 



MIRACLES. 



very face of it, and that a miracle, supported by any 
human testimony, was more properly a subject of de- 
rision than argument." In this sentiment I most cor- 
dially concur, my decided opinion being, that the evi- 
dence of miracles is utterly mcompetent to decide the 
question. The same distinguished writer, when re- 
ferring to the credulity of the ignorant, very admira- 
bly remarks, '-Nothing convinces multitudes so much, 
as that which they anmot comprehend:' 

The Christian father, .St. Chrysostom, positively de- 
cles, that "miracles are proper only to excite sluggish 
and vulgar minds; that men of sense have no occa- 
sion for them; and that they frequently carry some 
outward suspicion along with them.'' The great 
Moshenu, in his Eccles. History, speaking of the early 
ages of (Christianity, and the nnracles pretended to be 
wrought 111 those days, observes, "The simplicity and 
Ignorance of the generality in those times, furnished 
tfie most favorable occasions for the exercise of fraud ; 
and the impudence of impostors in contriving false 
miracles, was artfully proportioned to the credulity of 
the vulgar; whilst the sagacity of the wise, who per- 
ceived these cheats, were overawed into silence by the 
dangers that threatened their lives and fortunes if 
they should expose the artitice." llius, does it gene- 
rally happen 111 human life, that when danger attends 
the discovery of truth, and tbe profession thereof, the 
prudent are silent ; the multitude believe, and impos- 
tors triumph. The ingenious and learned Christian, 
lir. iVliddleton, m his famous "Free Inquiry," when 
quoting the authority of St. Cyprian, as to the frauds 
ot the Christians in the third century, observes, as fol- 
lows :— " From all these considerations taken together. 
It must, I tlnnk, be allowed that the forged miracles of 
the loin-th century, give us just reason to suspect the 
pretensions of every other age, both before and after 
It. rins IS a most important admission for a Chris- 
tian Doctor. 

Miracles, I hold, if true—if possible, not only coii- 



MIRACLES. 



137 



chisively disprove the divinity of the Bible, but divi- 
nity Itself; and therefore, the Christians, in adducing 
this kind of evidence, so far from establishing their 
position, most signally and incontrovcrtibly invalidate 
it. This may appear a somewhat strange averment, 
but it is one by no means difficult of elucidation. — 
'I'hey declare that the Deity is infinite in all his per- 
fections, and that the laws of nature are an ef}l'ct of 
these divine and infinite attributes, and must, there- 
fore, have been arranged, at the first ^ in the l)est pos- 
sible manner^ and for the best possible pnrjtoscs. INow, 
to alter these laws, so ahsolutely perfect, (as the per- 
formance of a miracle necessarily implies,) would be 
to make these laws imperfect^ as no alteration could 
take place in that which Avas as jterfect as it conld be, 
unless for the worse. To work a miracle, therefore, 
could answer no really good jnir pose, and must, in its 
nature, be derogatory to the powers of the Cod by 
whom it is supposed to be performed. 

To establish a system of religion by evidence drawn 
from miracles, is to establish it upon the ruin oi the 
consistent harmony of the divine attributes by anni- 
hilating his perfection, divesting him of that which 
could alone constitute him a God — either the Deity 
did things at the first as they ought to be done, or he 
did not. If he did them as they ought to be done, 
there could be no need of alteration, and, consequent- 
ly, there coidd have been no such thing as a miracle ; 
but if he did ?iot, then he must have been either imper- 
fect or liave acted inconsistenlly with good principle ; 
in either of which cases his character as God, would 
be destroyed. It is manifest, that a wonder-working 
God, who violates his own laws, and acts inconsistent- 
ly with the principles which he himself has establish- 
ee, is no Cod at all, but a puerile, vacillating creature, 
possessing all the weaknesses of an ignorant humani- 
ty, and none of the perfections of an omniscient 
Divinity. 

" To suppose that God can alter the settled laws of 



1:^* 



138 



MIRACLES. 



MIRACLES. 



139 



nature which he himself had formed (which he must 
d(j to perform a miracle,) is to suppose," says Palmer, 
"his will and wisdom mutable, and that they are not 
the heU laws of the most perfect being; for if/^eis 
the author of them, they must be as immutable as he 
is, so that he cannot alter them to make them better, 
and laill not alter them to make them worse. Neither 
of those can be agreeable to his attributes. If the 
course of nature is not the best, the only best and fit- 
test that could be, it is not the offspring of jjerfcct 
wisdom, nor was it settled by divine will ; and if so, 
God is not the author of nature, if the laws thereof 
can be altered, for if the laws of nature are God's 
laws, he cannot alter them in any degree, without 
being in some measure changeable. If all nature is 
under the direction of an immutable mind, what can 
make a change in that direction? '' 

God must be allowed to be eternal ; therefore, he 
necessarily exists, and is, necessarily, wliatever he is : 
therefore, it is not in his own power to change himself" 
— it is his perfection to be imnmtable. For if his na- 
ture could possibly change, it might err, for whosoever 
is changeable is not perfect. 

Besides, an eternal and perfect nature must necessa- 
rily be unchangeable ; and so long as the first moving 
cause is the same, all subsequent and secondary causes 
can never vary.'^ 

Voltaire observes, " For what purpose would God 
perform a miracle ] " To accomplish some particular 
design upon living beings. He would then, in reality, 
be supposed to say,— I have not been able to effect by 
my construction of the universe — by my divine de- 
crees — by my eternal laws, a particular object ; I am 
now going to change my eterwd ideas, and immiUable 
laws, to endeavor to accomplish what I have not been 
able to do by means of them. 

" This would be an avowal of his weakness, not of 
his />o?^7cr; it would appear, indeed, in such a being 
an inconceivable contradktlun.^^ 



From this reasoning, the validity of which cannot 
be controverted, it is obvious the orthodox in main- 
taining that miracles are an evidence of the divinity 
of their book, are (5nly exploding their own preten- 
sions. The argument of miracles is indeed suicidal. 
I repeat, therefore, miracles are not admissible as 
proof of the j)()int at issue. 

Conceding, however, for the sake of argument, tliat 
miracles are a proof of divine interposition, the ortho- 
dox are by no means relieved from their embarrass- 
ments — they are only involved in still more distressing 
difficulties, as the founders of all the great religions m 
tlic world, and their more immediate apostles, are 
said, by their disciples, to have performed miracles, 
many of which are of an hifinitcly more wonderful 
character than any recorded either in the Old or New 
Testament ; and upon authority eipially as satisfac- 
tory. 

If miracles are a proof of the divinity of one reli- 
gion, they are of another, and, hence, the heathen 
religions are just as likely to be genuine as the Chris- 
tian ; nay, more so, because their miracles are much 
more extraordinary. The value of a miracle is to be 
estimated not by its probability, but improbabiUty. — 
The more improbable, tlierefore, a miracle may be, the 
better miracle it is, and the more likely the religion for 
the advancement of which it was performed, is'divine. 
Of course, a more astounding miracle would require 
the administration of a stronger dose of divine inspir- 
ation ; and, therefore, if I can show that the miracles 
of the heathen are more remarkable than those of the 
Christian, — I prove that they are moi^e dbmie — more 
worthy the acceptance of miracle-mongers and mira- 
cle-believers. 

Permit me to adduce, in the first place, a few Hin- 
doo miracles. I shall quote from a very pious French 
Christian Missionary, Abbe Dubois, who lived among 
the Hindoos for many years, and had every opportu- 
nity of becoming acquainted with their opinions, hab- 



no 



MIRACLES. 



Its, and superstitions. He remarks, " The miracles 
of the Christian rehgion, however extraordinary they 
must appear to a common imderstanding, are 'by no 
means so to the Hindoos. Upon them they have no 
cllect. The exploits of Joshua and Iiis army, and the 
prodigies they elfccted by the interpositions of C^od, 
m the conquest of the land of Canaan, seem to them 
nnirorthy of notice, when compared with the achieve- 
ments ot their own Kama, and of the miracles which 
attended his progress when iie subjected Ceylon to his 
yoke. Tlie mighty strength of Samson dwindles into 
nothing wlien opposed to the overwhelming energy of 
Bah, ot Pvavana, and the giants. 'Hie resurrection of 
Lazarus itself, is, in their eyes, an ordinmy event, of 
which they scg /rrf/ite?U examples in the Vishnu cere- 
monies ot Pahvahdam. I particularize these examples 
because they liave been actually opposed to me more 
than once by Prahmins in my disputations with them 
on religion." 

From tliis extract it is evident that the Christian 
miracle-dealers must "hide their diminished heads," 
and never more attempt to Christianize thai portion of 
the globe until they can manufacture a superior stock 
of " divine wonders." 

We will now mention the famous Grecian miracle, 
said to have been performed by the priests of Apollo' 
belore the temple of Delphos. ' 

Bishop Warl)urton, alluding to this memorable phe- 
nomenon, remarks, " The prediction of this desolation, 
by the priests oi Apollo, w^ith the faith due to the best 
human testimony, which strangely concurred to sup- 
port the fact, were, I presume, the reasons which 
mclmed the excellent Dean Prideaux, to esteem it 
miraculous:' He says, '^Brennus went on with his 
army towards Delphos, to plunder the temple; but he 
there met with a wonderful defeat— -^ terril)le storm of 
thunder, lightning, and hail, destroyed great numbers 
of his men ; and, at the same time, an carthciuake, 
rending the mountains asunder, thre\y down v/holo 
rocks upon them." 



MIRACLES. 



Ill 



Here is a lieathen miracle admitted to be such by 
Dean Prideaux. Bishop Warburton himself confesses 
that the testimony in favor of it, " strangely con- 
curred to su})port the flxct." The miracles of Mah- 
omet are the most remarkable. They are worthy of 
of the name. We are solemnly assured by IMahomc- 
dans that their prophet travelled through ninety hea- 
vens in ONE ni<rht, returning to Mecca before the next 
morning. This surpasses the railway or any other 
species of " locomotion." While in the celestial 
regions, we are told Mahomet saw Cod Almiglity 
himself, and held with him a friendly personal con- 
versation. He saw many other marvellous phenom- 
ena. For instance, in tlie first heav(3n he saw a cOck, 
whose head was so large that it readied to the second 
heaven, which was at the distance of 500 days' jour- 
ney, according to the common rule of travelling on 
earth. 

In aLiother " heaven " he beheld an angel so large 
that the distance between his eyes was etpial to the 
length of seventy thousand days\journcy ! ! ! 

hi one of tlie heavenly apartments, he beheld a 
clieruh with seventy tliousand heads ^ and every head 
had seventy thousand mouths, and in every mouth 
there were seventy thousand voices, with which the 
angel was incessantly praising. 

These are ideally ''miraculous wonders," and, if we 
arc to accredit miracles, that of Mahomet's visit to 
heaven, is something worthy of our credulity. Did 
time permit, I could amuse you with the details of an 
immense number of other miracles, from various par- 
ties and religions, most of which are much more sat- 
isfactorily attested than any of the Bible- wonders, and 
which, therefore, we have as much right to believe. 

1 could tell you of the Fgyptian miracles. I could 
tell you of the miracles wrought by the sorcerers of 
J^haraoh, and the priests of Baal, as declared in the 
Bible itself— by men who did not teach the "true re- 
ligion. '^ I could tell, too, of the miracles of Appolo- 



142 



MIRACLES. 



MIRACLES. 



113 



niiis — the Roman miracle, as recorded by Livy, the 
celebrated historian— of the miracles of Vespasian, 
who, we are told, cured a blind man, and gave anoth- 
er the nse of his arm ; and who, in consequence, was 
honored by many as a god. 

I could tell you of the miracles said to have been 
performed by the kings of England and Scotland, so 
lately as the I'^fth cenmry, when they professed to 
cure the scrofula by the sign of the cross. I could 
tell you of the thousand and one miracles said to have 
been performed by the holy fdthers during the dark 
ages — of the "miraculous performances" recorded in 
the Methodist magazines, and other superstitious pub- 
lications—miracles, many of which, says Wesley 
liimself, in his letter to the Hisliop of Gloucester, are 
beyond all suspicion, as the " witnesses could not bo 
deceived themselves, or deceive others." 

I could tell you, also, of the miracles of Prince 
llohenlohe, who is said to have cured thonsands who 
were afflicted with the most desperate diseases, by 
sim[)Iy praying for them. The miracle of the with- 
ered elm-tree, mentioned by the Rev. Mr. Forsyth, 
and said to have been attested by many most respect- 
able " eye-witnesses." 

Likewise, 1 could inform you of the celebrated mira- 
aelc performed upon the inhabitants of New England, 
(America,) when afflicted by demons, spectres, and 
other supernatural agencies, narrated by Dr. Cotton 
Mather, who declares the phenomena he there records 
can be attested by the •' oaths of a multitude of re- 
spectable witnesses." I could tell you of these, and 
other pious wonders, but shall be constrained to con- 
tent myself with the two following: — The first is the 
memorable miracle said to have been performed dur- 
ing the Italian war, in 1797. The French being 
supposed to have entered Italy to overthrow Papal 
(.'hristianity, we are informed that innnerous pictures 
ol the Virgin Mary opened and shut their eyes in dif- 
ferent parts of that country, during an interval of six 



or seven months, and this was attested "by at least 
00,000 persons, who voluntarily deposed that they re- 
peatedly beheld the prodigy with their own eyes." 

The Rev. editor of the "Official Memoirs," declares 
that these miracles have more "moral certainty in 
their favor than any 'fact' whatever in the annals 
of the world." We are seriously told that no less 
than 600,000 people actually saw paintings of the 
semi-goddess, Virgin Mary — pieces of mere inanimate 
matter, oil, paint, and canvass — open and shut their 
"eyes, " contniually, during the space of six or seven 
months! ()! man, how far will thy credulity lead 
thee? This beats any miracle in the Bible, and is 
incom])arably better attested — yet who believes it? 

The miracles of William Iluntijigdon, are the cream 
of the whole. They are, what I should denominate, 
practical miracles — miracles founded, I should pre- 
sume, upon the doctrine of utility. 

Vv e are told that when he prayed for leather breech- 
es, he had them ; and when he was hungry, fishes 
came out of the watej, and larks from heaven, to feed 
him, in abundance. What a pity we cannot have 
such miracles now-a-days ! How unfortunate that 
the impoverished portion of the community — those 
who are now reduced to insult and starvation, cannot 
receive a sufficient quantum of "divme grace" to 
work such miraculous performances ! 

There would be no necessity for " the Queen's beg- 
ging letters," "relief committees," "benevolent socie- 
ties," " poor-houses," or "charity" sermons. 

But let us pause for a moment, to inquire what in- 
ference is to bo deduced from these "facts." What 
but this — that miracles have been said to be wrought 
and attested in favor of all the great religions and sec- 
tions of religions in the world, and that each of these 
parties declare that their respective miracles prove 
their respective tenets to be divine? Inasmuch, how- 
ever, as this is impossible — inasmuch, as Bishop Fleet- 
wood says, " miracles are no conclusive proof of any 
religion being true." 



' -Jt 



1 14 



MIUACLES. 



)iiiiii;li3; 



115 



Pho argument of miracles, like that of prophecy, 
proves too much for the convenience of the Christiuii. 

it affords the supporters of otiicr rehgions an oppor- 
tunity of ])roving, upon the same ground, that their 
rehgion is divine. The Christian pubhc, therefore, 
must abandon the argument of miracles, or neutralize 
their own position, cither of which will establish the 
point lor which I am contending — at least so far as 
this argument is concerned. 

Moore, in his •' Veiled Prophet," when alluding to 
the anxiety displayed by all impostors to establish 
their religion by miracles, exclaims — 

" Yo, too, believers of Incredible creeds, 

Whose faith enshrines the moiisier which it breeds 
Who, bohler e'ou than Nimroil, think to rise ' 

B> non«>v.'S4» iu'aptvi on iion»enM? ti> tiii* skie*; 
^f Ki^tli h:ivf iiiiftirlr^, wia./ miM ft»» 



ik*o<i 



-...-... .. J 'iiiiif uiiija |t»#| 



Ilixnlli-e^i, However, llial tlic pro< rocordcd 

in llie Ujhic, are UilUrr ntt<:5.fr><l than any otlwr mira- 
cles. 'Ilic eviikiin^ ja more? coainjusive — w> c<iiic?Iusivo 
lliitt no raiioiiul mind can nijccl j(, I zi»k^ uhrrc h 
thi8 ^vKloiiofr? I rc'ijezit, V. ' is thi:c cvidcHc. 

I>f» wo fiMii it in tho (>/r/ iV-ManKnt .^ 'I'iic only 
^•vkIoikx' in r^jvor of llicrsc miracles, ist, that cliey um 
rucunliMl ill a book, rom|>.i».>tl hy tin; prtcsis oV iJic 
iniwt igiK>fant and croilnloiis jx^iple in llio world. 

Whzii 5i^i.sible mail will rnxx-pl micIi ir^tiinony] — 
Arc wv. ID UIm'to lliot Ihe evidence in i.ii|,|M>rl oi* the 
woikIitAiJ repnst of ihe n wiili Abraham, ilio 

inarvclltMis laic oJ Joiialrs Ihi^xj days' rc5.idi>iice in Ilic 
whale* |)olly-~tlic sudden cmivcrsioii ol* ijot'x wife 
into a jMllar of «ilt— llic raininir o\ Jirc ami l>riin»i<»fie 
n|MMi >oduin and c;< ,:ih— 1|,<, |)css5iinq; of ihe Ism- 
<?litC8 chronjrJi iIh! Jii-a .'^ ilw^ Ikrtrnlc^n nchicvo- 
mcnis ofSiunHiMi— the Mn|i|»iM.; iifiijc sun byJoolina, 
and a nniltiindti of oihrr nioii>4r<«i5 ial)lc»— ^ts boiler 
atUd.icfl ilwm iIkj nnniertms Indian, flniHibJc, Cireciaii, 
and Pofiiili iuira<:Ui5, uliea ni^iny of lliu laacr arccoii! 



firmed by the solemn alU^' :i of m:u;i.M rales, di. 
vines, physicians, mid <»tlier rojH:i!iaMo per.viikj;? and, 
if we reject these miracles, iliough confirmed by Mich 
evidence, why shouUl wo receive llio Jewish ii)ira<!lc$. 
which have not a jKirl><'lo <yf cviil4:iic«! in their favor 1 
1 defy both Jews and ClirisiiaiM to cite any collalcnd 
testimony. No writer or hi$turi!Ui, |jow<!\*«i* aiK^iciit, 
makes allusion to tlwi oxtriuirdinary occurn^icx* nar- 
rated in the Jewi^i ** 13ook of V* ondersc/' »otii>" of 
which, had they really liamicfied, could not liuvc «- 
caped the notice of n^^mkinJ. These stooriev arc only 
mentioned in a book >^'hich wa» uol heanl of iiiilil 
about 300 years before Christ ! — a hxtk bdoiigiiig lo 
a race of priests, i>oturtoti8 for their inqwo^turcs, their 
credulity, and their ii^norzuKx;. The citli^hteiMMl and 
lliinkinig minds of the niiK:tcenth cciunrv, arc really 
called n])OJi to ackiK>wled^ the 64iipid i of kucIi 

a 1>card of imiKislors;, who only iiiveiuer e ^*piiiU.s 
frauds'* to excite tlic fc4ir and wonder of a fN}o)4c, 
hiarl:ar<Hi!(. MiixrhliltouH, and illiti'ratc! hi iIm! al>- 
M'ii^3 of all collateral tcstinKMiy, 1 deem it univoccv- 
sary to (lur^iio tlio subject. 

What of llw! jVcfT TcNlan>ent miracles ? 1$ tlfeO cvi- 
ikiicc nH>rc : ic4ory*J Not at all. Tlie Cliri»ti:int(, 

4>f coiirM.'. ;iihrin that it m clear and inc<Hitrovcrtil>lc : 
but fiwro a.s.Mnnplion i:t not urginnrnc. It generally 
liapi wl>cn there is less proof) that the aKsc-rier of 

a pro|>> I is uioru doi^inalic. So it is ni thi.n ii>- 
slanco. U iih all tlic exultation of the C aiis, il 

ts incontestable that llic evidence in Ktip))ort of their 
divine pnxlii^ic^ i.s entirely cx-fMirlc. i ehalb!nge tlicm 
to name any coutemjH^rary aiitlH>rity, cviiifirmin^ llicir 
MatotiH'iitK Not OIK* ol tito linmerofis wniers and 
liLsturiaus of \\nwAi tiiiics can Ix: <|iiotcd in j;iipj>nrt of 
tlirir jNfctensinit'^ .S^irrj. aiwl tluj elder Tliliy, tlni 
irreal natural \A\ of that aqe. do not refer, 

ill tho mo«l reinulc difi^roc, to the pret<;niatnral dark- 
ness— the rkviiiK of il«J Kiiinis from their Jtrsivr*^, ant] 
tlieir walking ihiuugli the Mroel^ of JeiUbali iii^ iitci»' 



IIG 



MIRACLES. 



tioucd in Matt, xxvii., or any of the wonders said to 
have been performed before thousands of spectators. 
Phny devotes a ichole chapter to extraordinary echp- 
ses, but notices not this astonishhjg phenomenon, 
winch, had it occurred, must have been Jaiown to 
liim. 

It is to the Christian converts alone we are indebted 
for the only accounts we have of such amazing pro- 
digies, and their isolated and unsupported testimony 
cannot be admitted as suflicient to establish their own 
veracity. Were this to be allowed them, on the same 
ground must we admit the miracles of the heathen 
lawgivers and founders of sects, as they were credited 
by millions of followers, and are so to this day. 

The only collateral evidence which Christians them- 
selves have ventured to adduce, is that of Josephus 
Pontius Pilate, and Publius Lentulus, and diis evi- 
dence we proved, on a former occasion, on the author- 
ity of Dr. Lardner, Dr. Du Pin, Bishop Warburton, 
and other distinguished Christians, was forged. 

We know that at the time these miracles are said 
to have been accomplished, the i)eo])le wcxq predis- 
posed to accredit them. All classes and nations, ex- 
cept a few philosophers, were believers in supernatural 
events. The Christian author Le IMoine, in his Essay 
on Miracles, is obliged to admit that there "never was 
a greater corruj)tion, more fraud in point of miracles 
and a more general propensity to tamper with, or be- 
lieve anything of the kind, than in the period which 
elapsed Irom the death of Christ to the destruction of 
Jerusalem." The credulity of the early Christians 
was mibounded ; so much so indeed, that the Chris- 
tian professor, Mosheim, who is esteemed by the pious 
as the beau ?V/e«/ of an ecclesiastical hisroiiaii, deii'onn- 
ccs them in his Eccles. Hist. v. i. p. 102, as "a gross 
and Ignorant multilude.'' 

Yet, it is upon the veracity of sucb a multitude 
we have to rely for the credibility of tlic New Testa- 
ment miracles ! 



MIRACLES. 



117 



The pretensions of Christ to supernn rural powers 
were similar to those of Minos, Lyeurgus, Pythagoras, 
and other lawgivers. They considered it necessary, 
Hi order to secure obedience to tlieir laws, and inspire 
veneration, to deceive the vulgar. This maxim was 
adoj)ted, too, by the l^gyptians, the Jews, and the 
early fathers of the Christian church. 

Indeed, Christ himself, as shown in our third lec- 
ture, positively advocated that doctrine. 

He professed to teach, '•' That seeing they may see, 
and not perceive, and hearing they may hear, and not 
understand J ' (Mark iv. 12.) 

We must reiterate that it is a fact as singular as it 
is fatal to the credibility of these miracles, that not 
one of them is confirmed by contem])orary historians, 
not even such momentous events as the slaughter of 
the children by Herod — the opening of the heavens at 
the baptism of Jesus — the beheading of John the Bap- 
tist, after he had baptized all Judea and Jerusalem — 
the purchase of the field of blood, which, it is said, 
was known to all the people of Jerusak'ni — the total 
darkness at the crucilixion of Jesus previously alluded 
to — and the wonderful ])ool of Bcthesda in Jerusak^m, 
wherein an angel came to heal the sick. 

Ill fact, most of the miracles of Christ, arc said to 
have been done in comparative secrecy. His own 
resurrection is admitted by Christians to be only a 
'' private miracle."' I should say very private, for no 
one ever saw him rise from the tomb, not even his 
own discij)les. 

We have not the testimony of a single individual 
upon this strange event, and why a matter of so much 
importance was accomplished in so obscure a place, 
and not before as many witnesses as were present at 
his death, is sullicient to prove that those things are 
related by men, who, instead of being inspired by 
wisdom, seem to l)e remarkable only for ignorance and 
superstition. 

With res[)C'ct to the ascension, it appears that Mark 



148 



MIRACLES. 



MIRACLES. 



149 



and Luke, who were not disciples at the time, and 
consc(iueiilly, not present, are tlie only writers who 
pretend to give an account of the circumstance, and 
this, too. 111 a very contra(hctory manner ; while Mat- 
thew and John, who are said lo liave heeii present, do 
not make the shghtest aUusion to it, nor inform us 
that it ever occurred ! Tlie declaration that Jesus 
would rise from tlie dead, after three days, was made 
m puhlic : why, then, was the pretended performance 
made in private 7 The declaration was made before 
persons who required their donbts to be removed ; — 
why, then, did he only appear before women and his 
discij)les, who were ready to believe or to assert any- 
thing tending to the credit of their sect? The best 
evidence of which the nature of the case would ad- 
mit, was his public appearance in Jerusalem ; — why 
did not this taki> place 7 There is but one answer to 
be given — the whole story is an imposture, devoid of 
all truth or probability. 

When Christ was "transfigured," he takes with 
h'\m o/il}/ his three faviji lies I ^Vhcn he turns water 
iuto nine, he selects the time when his witnesses were 
^'' tnernj ! '"' When h^ raises the daughter of Jalriis^ 
he puts away all ?ier friends from witnessing the re- 
suscitating })rocess. When he cure-i the hUnd niait^ 
he takes him aside [roni public obscrvatio/i. A\ hen he 
cleanses the leper, he " straightly charged him, see 
thou say nothlni^ to any man^ but show thyself to the 
PKiKST ! " (Mark i., 44 ;) an expression which indicates 
Christ's wish to conceal his trick from the people — a 
practice aways observed by impostors. J>cn the 
very corner stone of the divinity of Christ, his "mi- 
raculous conception," rests entirely upon the assertion 
of Mary, who declares that she had been told by an 
"angel," that she was with child by a ghost I — a 
" holy ghost," and of Josepli, who, also allirms that 
an "angel" had told him so in a drkam ! A queer 
dream, truly — perhaps a mesmeric trance! How 
laughable, that the whole ground- work of th(' divi- 









nity of Christianity depends upon a dream — a thing, 
upon which all intelligent persons, in any other case, 
place no reliance ! Sensible people, even amongst 
Christians, in this age, esteem a person as imbecile 
who regards dreams, and yet the wliole of the Chris- 
tian world place such faith in them, as actually to 
found their religious belief upon them ! What glori- 
ous consistency and rationality ! ! I am quite persuaded 
had Joseph and Mary lived in our day, and produced 
such evidence before any court in Europe, the sitting 
magistrate would have ordered them, in pure com- 
miseration, to have been "taken care of." In legal 
parlance, they would have been pronounced non 
compos mentis. 

My friends, it is worthy of observation, that amongst 
the numerous inventions of piiests to dii])e mankind, 
one of the clearest was the miraculous conceptions 
and births of antiquity. They have been found ex- 
tremely useful to priests m all ages, ])arti^ularly when 
celibacy was the order of the day among them, and 
vestals were kept in the temples. These fables, palm- 
ed upon the ignorant, were convenient means of con- 
cealing all sacerdotal seductions and amours, by 
means of which "Sons of (lod" were "begotten." 
AVhen the fruits of these holy indulgencies could no 
longer be conceak^d, there was always at hand some 
good natured, accommodating god, willing to take 
upon himself the " fraternity ; " the lady, of course, 
remaining in spotless virghiity. The institution of 
the virgin votaries of Yesta, could not have been en- 
tirely unconnected with the private devotions of the 
])riests, since these ladies were allowed to retire from 
the temples at the age of thirty. By such divine tricks 
the llindo virgin, llohini, conceived and brought forth 
a "Son of God," one of the Brahmin Trinity. The 
Chinese had a virgin impregnated with the ray of the 
sun — the mother of the ( Jod, Foe. The mother of So- 
monocodum, wlio, according to the Scri])tures of the 
Talapians of Siam. was the God expected to save the 

13=^ 



150 



MIRACLES. 



universe, was likewise a ''virgin." The followers of 
Leatzc declare that his mother hccame pregnant by a 
junction-of heaven and earth, and was pregnant with 
him for eighty years ! llie followers of i^lato, even 
two hundred and fifty years after his death, and only 
100 before Christ, said tliat he was born of a " virgin." 
His father, Aristo, on his marriage, was warned in a 
dream, by Apollo, not to have commerce with his 
wife, because she was with child by him, (Apollo.) 
Aristo, like Joseph, obeyed, and Plato was added to 
the "Sons of God." 8uch are the delusions of im- 
posture and superstition ! Tlie story of Christ's con- 
ception, is ecpially as preposterous as that of Plato's. 
II you believe one, yon mjiy believe the other. 

It is a Ycry stfs/Hnoffs fact, my friends, that Christ's 
nnmftumhj (tud rchirmis—those who knew him most 
nilimulehj, lon;L(esf^ and heat, gave W) credit to his pre- 
tensions to nnraculous power, .as seen in Mark vi., 
ver. 1, 2, .5; and .lohn iv., ver. 41. It is a ciuious 
fact, too, that he refused to work his miracles t>ef(,rc 
men of sense and intelU ^^ence, always preferring, 
when he did come before the public, to perform them 
in the presence of the ignorant and creduhms mul- 
titude. 

But there appears to have been a singular con- 
trariety of opinions among the early Chnstians, in 
respect to many matters involving the miraculous 
character of Christ. His own .lewish converts re- 
garded him as a mere man, while some of his 
heathen followers, according to the Kev. Mr. Jones, 
" Canen," p. 12, believed him to be "a certain pow- 
er, sixty-six miles high, and twenty-four broad so 

tall, that his head reached the cto/uls ! " Another very 
prevalent opinion at this primitive period, says Mo- 
sheim, vol. 1, p. 130, was, that Christ had existed 
only in appearance, and not in reality. J)r. Priest- 
ley states, in his Church History, vol.' 1, p. 97, that 
this was the opinion of "all persons who pretended 
to philosophy, or more knowledge than the vulgar, 



MIRACLES. 



151 



and continued down to the period of the establish- 
ment of Popery." The Christian apostle f^arnabas, 
in his gospel, translated by Archbishop Wake, in his 
"Apostolic Fathers,'' expressly asserts that Jesus 
was not crucified, but that Judas was crucified in 
his stead. Bassillides, another primitive teacher of 
Christianity, declares that it was neiflier Christ nor 
Judas who was crucified, but Symon of Siren e ! 
The Ebonites, saj^s Dr. Hug, in his Introduction to th« 
New Testament, (a numerous body of early Christians) 
"denied the miraculous conception of Christ, and with 
the Nazarencs, looked upon liim onlt/ as an ordinary 
man.''' They also denied that he suffered on the cro.ss. 
and asserted that he had Jloivn away to heaven ! ! an 
achievement certainly more worthy of a "God," than 
that of allowing himself to be murdered between two 
felons. 

Before I retire, I cannot deny myself the pleasure 
of quoting some passages from the celebrated dis- 
courses of Woolston, on miracles. Those who would 
wish to be amused for a few hours, would do well 
to read these admirable predilections. 

Alluding to the story of Christ telling the woman 
of Samaria that she had five hundreds, &x!., he re- 
marks : — "'Christ here makes himself a wandering 
gipsy, or Bohemian fortune-teller, and 1 much won- 
der that our gipsies don't account themselves the 
genuine disciples of Jesus, being endowed with the 
like gifts, and exercising no worse arts than he him- 
self practised." He compares Jesus when tempted 
by the devil, to St. Hunstan, who seized the devil by 
the nose, and he gives the preference to tlie Saint, 
for instead of parleying with him, he remarks, " If 
Jesus had taken him by the collar, and thrust him 
into his dungeon, and there chained him, and closed 
hell's gates upon him, I appeal to lionest Christians 
whether such a Herculean labor would not have 
pleased them well?" 

In the story of the fig-tree, he remarks, "Jesus 



152 



MIRACLES. 



conducted himself like a mendicant friar on that oc- 
casion, who, before he turned ficld-preacher, was no 
better than a journeyman carpenter." "It is," says 
he, '" very surprising that the court of Rome has not, 
among all its relics, some little fancy box, or three- 
foot-stool, of his workmanship." 

On the story of the conversion of vmfer into wine, 
he has some very facetious comments. He observes, 
*'Jolni expressly says that the guests were already 
intoxicated, ' methutosc,^ and God comes down to 
earth, and performs his first miracle, to enable them 
to drink still more ! Whether Jesus and his mother 
were as excited, as were others of the company, is not 
certain. The famiharity of the lady with a soldier 
imphes she was fond of her bottle, and her son was 
somewhat affected by the wine from his answering 
his mother so waspishly and snappishly as he did, 
when he said, ' Woman, what have I to do with 
thee 7' It may be inferred from these words that 
Mary was not a virgin, and that Jesus was not her 
son. Had it been otherwise, he would not thus have 
insulted his father and mother, in violation of one 
of the most sacred commandments of the law." He 
concludes, " however, he (Christ) complied with liis 
mother's request; he fills eighteen jars with water, 
and makes punch of it." The story of the resiUTCc- 
tion of Lazarus he treats with ineifable derision, and 
denounces as "so brimful of absurdity, that St. John 
when he wrote it must have outlived his senses ! " 

Woolston directs especial attention to the dead said 
to be raised again by Christ. He contends, and very 
justly, that " a dead man restored to life would have 
been an object of attention and astonishment to the 
universe ; that all the Jewish magistrates, and more 
especially Pilate, would have made the most minute 
investigation, and obtained the most authentic depo- 
sitions ; that Tiberius enjoined all pro-consuls and 
governors to inform him, with exactness, of every 
event that took place. But so far from these wonders 



MIRACLES. 



153 



being mentioned, the world knew nothing about them 
till more than 100 years had rolled away from the 
date of the events, when some obscure individuals 
show one another the writings rccordhig them. Nei- 
ther Josephus, nor the learned Philo, nor any Creek 
or Roman historian, at all notices these prodigies, 
which, had they really occurred, must have held all 
nations in amazement ! " 

Hume says — " A miracle is a violation of the laws 
of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience 
has established these laws, the proof against a mira- 
cle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as 
any argument from experience can possibly be im- 
agined. Why is It more than probable that all men 
must die; that lead cannot, of itself, remain suspend- 
ed in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extin- 
guished by water; unless it be that these events are 
found agreeable to the laws of nature, and there is 
required a violation of these laws, or, in other words, 
a miracle to prevent them 7 Nothing is esteemed a 
miracle, if it ever happen in the common course of 
nature. It is no miracle that a man, seemingly in 
good health, should die on a sudden; because such a 
kind of death, though more unusual than any other, 
has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it 
is a miracle that a dead man should come to life; 
because that has never been observed in any age or 
country. There must, therefore, be an uniform ex- 
perience against every miraculous event, otherwise 
the event would not merit that appellation. And as 
an uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is 
here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the 
fact, aj?ainst the existence of any miracle; nor can 
such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered 
credible, but bv an opposite proof which is superior. 
The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim 
worthy of our attention,) ' That no testimony is suf- 
ficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be 
of such a kind that its falsehood would be more mi- 



I 



154 



MIRACLES. 



raculoiis than the fact which it endeavors to establish. 
And even in that case there is a mutual destruction 
of arguments, and the superior only gives us an as- 
surance suitable to that degree of force wiiich remains 
after deducting the inferior. When any one tells me 
that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediate- 
ly consider with myself whether it be more probable 
that this person should either deceive or be deceived, 
or that the fact which he relates should really have 
happened. I weigh the one miracle agafnst the other; 
and according to the superiority which I discover, I 
pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater 
miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be 
more miraculous than the event which he relates; 
then, and not till then, can he pretend to command 
my belief or opinion." 

But enough of these pious monstrosities — these 
" wonders," 

" Too heavenly to be understood. '^ 

The day is approaching when they will be read as 
we now peruse Swift's (iulliver's Travels. The ma- 
tured and enlightened mind has outgrown them — 
aspires after the real — the practical — the rational. — 
Tlie spirit of the age is pre-eminently scientific, and 
once let the glorious huninary of science shed its 
rays placidly and freely upon mankind, and the 
mysteries, delusions, and impostures of the world 
will melt away — 

''^ Like the baseless fabric of a vision." 



LECTURE NINTH. 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



Friends — 

I AGAIN appear before yon to resume our important, 
and, I trust, not altogether uninteresting inquiry, into 
the divinity of the Christian Scriptures. On this oc- 
casion we propose to consider more of the details of 
the subject than it was our province to do in our 
previous address. 

We shall proceed to inquire into the consistency of 
the Bible. I hold that any book emanating from an 
omniscient Deity must, of necessity, be perfectly con- 
sistent in itself in every possible particular. 

To siq)pose such a production as containing dis- 
crepancies and incongruities, is virtually to admit 
that it is liable to error, and, therefore, cannot be 
our inspired, and certainly not our infallible guide 
to salvation. 

To imagine, for a moment, that a revelation ^from 
omniscience could contain contradictions, is itself a 
conti^adiction. If, then, I can show the Bible con- 
tains inconsistencies, I prove, beyond the possibility 
of refutation, that it cannot 130 divine. It will be a 
proof, as Dr. Wardlow remarks, in his Discourses, 
" sufficiently convincing that the Bible is not from 
God." Presuming, therefore, that all my previous 
reasonings were invalid^ if I succeed in tJds argu- 
ment, I irrefragably establish my position — that the 
Bible is ail imposture. 



156 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



Professor Campbell, in his Preface to the Transla- 
tion of the Gospels, confesses, that, " If anything 
were affirmed that is self-contradictory, or anything 
enjoined that is immoral, we have sufficient internal 
evidence that such thing cannot proceed from the 
Father of light, which all the external proofs that 
could be produced on the other side, would never be 
able to surmount." 

The Rev. S. Home, in his Introduction to the 
Scriptures, 2d edit. vol. i. p. 581, also observes, ''If 
real contradictions exist in the Bible, it is sufficient 
proof that it is not divinely inspired, whatever pre- 
tences it may make to such inspiration." 

I unhesitatingly aver, my friends, that there is no 
book extant — no produclion, ancient or modern, more 
replete with contradictions — contradictions, naked, 
palpable, and absolute, than the book under discus- 
sion. It is one tissue of incongruity from Genesis to 
Revelations. Had its alleged authors wrote solely 
to contradict themselves, they could not have been 
more successful. 

Considered as a book of contradictions, the Bible 
is a most admirable and masterly performance. It 
is, indeed, unrivalled in this respect. 

Looking at the Scriptures, either in a doctrinal or 
historical point of view, instances of the grossest in- 
congruity present themselves in almost qyqty chapter 
— if not in every verse. 

The fact is, anything may be proved from this 
"book of riddles," good, bad, or indilferent. It is, 
emphatically, " all things to all men'' It is one of 
the most cameleon-Uke productions ever composed. 
Its color varies, just according to the chapter you are 
perusing. Were it possible to read two verses only 
irom this book to any two individuals who had never 
heard of the Bible before, I could pledge my reputa- 
tion they would at once declare tliey could not have 
been taken from the same composition. 

Certain I am that, in the whole course of my read- 



1 



t 



THK CONSISTENCY OF THE BlBf.E. 



157 



J 



-ing, I never met with a work more self -contradictory^ 
or more unworthy of being taken as an authority or 
standard. 

It must be admitted, I presume, that any book 
which is to be esteemed an authority, and especially 
a divine authority, ought, at least, to possess the at- 
tribute of con^ruity. Destitute of that excellence, no 
honest or consistent man can esteem it a satisfactory 
reference. Now the Bible does not jwssess that at- 
tribute. It is so utterly devoid of it, indeed, that 
to talk of the Bible and consistency appears to me 
to be as paradoxical and absurd as to talk of George 
the Fourth and morality, or of Bishop Philpot and 
charity. 

This, I doubt not, may be pronounced an unqual- 
ified and sweeping declaration. I iutcnd it to be so. 
I wish it to be as unqualified as language will admit, 
as I am assured I am only affirming that which I 
can incontrovertibly substantiate. I>y your permis- 
sion, we will proceed to this demonstration at once, 
and waive any further prefatory comment, except it 
be to promise that I shall give chapter and verse for 
every quotation or reference I make on this occasion, 
and I distinctly challenge any person to show that I 
have cited unfairly. 

I may observe, that though I have an hour allowed 
me to treat this subject, I have matter in my posses- 
sion, the delivery of which, would take me from now 
until midnight. This discourse, therefore, will neces- 
sarily contain only a portion of that which I could 
adduce did time permit. Nevertheless, I shall en- 
deavor to introduce as much as possible, looking to 
condensation rather than amplification. 

We shall consider the Bible, in the first instance, 
more in a doctrinal than historical sense, and com- 
mence by showing the incongruous doctrines it in- 
culcates as to the nature of Deity. 

In John, c. iv., v. 24, we are told, '-^God is a spirit^'' 
immaterial^ while in Exodus, c. xxxiii., v. 22, 23, we 

14 



158 



•the consistency of the bible. 



are told, he exhibited to Moses a portion of his body, 
which shows, if that passage is correct, he is some- 
thing more than a spirit. I refrain from reading the 
passage. It is too obscene for any respectable audi- 
tory. Jn Prov., c. XV., v. 3, he is represented as hav- 
ing eyes. In Isaiah, c. Iv., v. 11, a month; c. Ixv., 
V. 5, a nose; c. xxx., v. 27, lips. 2 Kings, c. xix., v. 
16, ears. Ezekiel, c. xliii., v. 7, feet. Jeremiah, c. 
xxi., V. 5, arms. Psalms, viii., v. 3, fingers. Eze- 
kiel, c. i., V. 27, loins. Genesis, c. vi., v. 6, a heart. 
Numbers, c. xxv., v. 16, a voice. Genesis, c. ii., v. 7, 
lungs. Exodus, c. xv., v. 8, nostrils. Jeremiah, c. 
iv., V. 19, bowels. Isaiah, c. Ixix., v. 17, a head. 
Daniel, c. vii., v. 0, hair. Exodus, c. xxxiii., v. 11, 
a face. Isaiah, c. xxx., v. 27, a tongue. Acts, c. ii., 
V. 28, bhjod. And in John, c. iii., v. 16, organs of 
generation. 

In Ephesians, c. iv., v. 6, we are informed, . God 
is omnipresent^ everywhere. " He is above you all, 
tJirough you all, and in you all." But in Habak- 
kuk, c. iii., v. 3, it is said. ''God came from Tcman," 
which implies that he had come to a place where he 
previously icas not. Now if he was everywhere^ he 
would have no occasion to come from Teman, as he 
must have been at the place already. For similar 
passages, see Exodus, c. xix., v. 20. Numbers, c. 



XL, V. 2.5 ; 



c. xii. V. 5. Isaiah, c. Ixvi., v. 18. Ex- 
od., c. xxiv., V. 12. Genesis, c. xvii., v. 22. Luke, 
c. iii., V. 22, and a multitude of others. 

In Matthew, c. xix., v. 26, we are made acquaint- 
ed with the doctrine of God's omnipotence. " With 
God all things are possible : " and yet we are told, in 
Judges, c. i., V. 19, that he " could not drive out the 
inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots 
of iron." 

For parallel passages, see 1 Corin., c. i., v. 25 ; 
Exod., c. xxxiv.. v. 14; and Gen., c. xxxii., v. 21-30. 

In Acts, c. i.. V. 24, we arc told, God is omniscient^ 
all-wise; '-he knoweth the hearts of all men:" yet 



the consistency of the bible. 



159 



we read in the 1 Corin., c. i., v. 25, of the ^^ foolish- 
ne'^s of God ; ' and in Malachi, c. iii., v. 16, that he 
i!L obliged to keep "a book of remembrance.^^ 

For other passages, proving his finite knowledge, 
see Gen., c. iii., v. 9, 11, Num., c. xxii., v. 9; 2 
Chron., c. xviii., v. 19 ; and Prov.. c. xxvi., v. 10. 

In the 1st of John, c. iv., v. 2, it is said, "God is 
love," while in Dent., c. iv., v. 24, it is stated, he is 
"a consuming fire." If so, I am afraid his love will 
be of rather too warm a nature; but, in Exod., c. xv., 
Y. 3, we are told, " he is a man of war ; " and in 
Nahum, c. i., v. 22, he is "/?/Ho?/5." In Hosea, c. 
xiii., V. 16, he is represented as displaying his "love" 
in the following manner : — " Samaria shall become 
desolate, for she hath rebelled against her God ; they 
shall fall by the sword — their infants shall be dashed 
to pieces, and their women with child shall be ript 
up." I could supply you with a thousand passages 
of a like barbarous nature, but I forbear. I advise 
you to read Exodus, c. xxxii., v. 27, 28 ; Deut., c. 
xxxii., V. 22-26; 1 Sarp., c. xv., v. 3 ; 2 Kings, c. xvii., 
V. 26; Jer., c. xi., v. 11 ; and Ezek., c. v., v. 10, 11. 

In Romans, c. ii., v. 11, we learn that God is " /m- 
partia^' has "no respect of persons," notwithstand- 
ing in the very same book, c. ix., v. 13, we are as- 
sured that God loved Jacob, but hated Esau ; and in 
1 Sam., c. ii., v. 7, that he was so very " impartial " 
as to make some rich^ and others poor. For passages 
of a similar nature, see 2 Tim., c. ii., v. 16 ; Deut., 
c. vii. V. 6; 1 Kings, c. iii., v. 12; Daniel, c. i., v. 9. 

In Malachi, c. iii., v. 6, we are told God is immuta- 
ble. "For I am the Lord, I change not?^ In Num., 
c. xxiii., V. 19, we are informed tTiat "God is not a 
man that he should lie, neither the son of man that 
he should repent ;'^ yet in Exod., c. xxxii., v. 14, I 
read, "And the Lord repented of the evil which he 
had thought to do unto his people." 

And in Jer., c. xv., v. 6, he exclaims, "I am weary 
with repenting.'^ 



160 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



Other passages, equally ineompatible with the doc- 



trine of iTm/matabilUxj ^ will be ioiiiid in (»en., c 
7 : 1 Sam. c. xv., v 

V. 8, and 10. 



VI., V. 

11 ; 2 Sam., c. xxiv., v. 16; Jer., 



c. xvni. 



We now come to his incrmiprehensibUity^ of which 



we read in Colos. 



and Isaiah, c. Iv., 



c. 

V. 



1., V. 



,, ,. 15; Rom., c. xi., v. 33, 
8. In Colossians it calls him 
the invisible (iod ; and still, in Exod., c. xxiv., v. 9, 
and 10, it states, that the seventy elders of Israel 
^'saw the God of Israeli Amos, c. ix., v. 1, of his 
book, declares, •' I saw the Lord standing upon the 
altar." In Exod., c. xxxiii. v. 11, we are informed 
that Moses saw the Lord "face to face; "and we 
read of several pious impostors who pretend to have 
enjoyed a similar " honor." Sec Gen., c. xxxii., v. 
30; c. xxvi., V. 2; also, Dent., c. xxxi., v. 15. 

We will now speak of the dogmas of Trinity and 
Unify. In the 1st John, c. v., v. 7, we read, *' For 
there arc three that bear record in heaven, — the 
Eather. the Word, and the Holy (ihost." While wo 
discover, in 1 ^I'im.^ c. ii., v. 5, that " there is one 
<«od, and one Mediator between God and man — the 
tmin, Christ Jesns; " and in Isaiah, c. xlvi., v. 0, the 
Lord is represented as saying, distinctly, "1 am God, 
and there is none else." The Trinitarians ([uote the 
first of these extracts; the Unitarians, the two last. — 
Hoth sects, however, pretend to cite ruimerous other 
passages in favor of their respective dogmas. The fa- 
mous Trinitarian Pastel, as given by l)r. .lortin, vol. 
iii., p. lOil, declares, that there are 11,000 proofs in 
favor of the Trinity, in the Old Testament alone, 
when inl(Mprcted rightly ; that is, ctymologico-inys- 
tico-cahfdistindlyy The Unitarians, as stated by 
Lindsey, affirm that there are more than " two thou- 
sand texts in the Old. and one thousand in the NeiL\ 
supporting Unitarianism ; " thus demonstrating, that 
upon this pointy alone, there are thousands of incon- 
gruities in the Sc^riptures. 

I shall refer you to a few more passages in reference 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



161 



to the person of a Deity. In Isaiah, c. xL, y. 11, he is 
said to be like a shepherd; in Lament., c. iii., v. 10, 
he is compared to a bear. In Isaiah, c. xlii., v. 13, to 
a ni}<rhty man. In Psalms, Ixxviii., v. 65, and 66, a 
sleepy man. In Uosea, c. v., v. 12, he is compared to 
a moth ; in c. xiii., v. 7, to a leopard. 

We find, that in Gen., c. ii., v. 8, he is declared to 
be a gardener ; in Gen., c. iii., v. 21, a tailor ; Gen., 
c. xxix., V. 31, a midwife. Exod., c. i., v. 21, iihouse- 
bnildcr. Joel, c. iii., v. 8, a slave dealer. 1 Corin., c. 
i., V. 25, a fool. Isaiah, c. xxxiv., v. 6, a butcher. 
Isaiah, c. liv., v. 13, a schoolnvu^ter. Dent., c. xxxiv., 
V. 6, a sexton. Exod., xxxii., v. 16, a stoneimtson. 
ICzek., c. xvi., v. 10, a shoemaker. Isaiah, c. Ixiv., v. 
8, a potter. Jer., c. xxx., v. 17, a doctor. Isaiah, c. 
vii., V. 20, a barber. Acts, c. x., v. 15, a cook ; and 
Ex. c. xxxi., V. 6—8, a candkstick maker. It is said, 
again, in Psalms, cxlv., v. 8, that he is ''slow to an- 
ger," while in 1 Sam., c. vi., v. 19, we are informed, 
lie slew 50,070 persons, all in an instant, in a fit of 
rage. In Psalms, xxx., v. 5, we are assured, that his 
anger endureth but for a moment, while in INumb., c. 
xxxii., V. 13, he made the Israelites wander in the 
wilderness, forty years — a rather long moment, I ap- 
prehend. In jMicah, c. 7, v. 18, we are informed that 
he "dolightcth in mercy," and yet in Dent., c. vii., v. 
2 and 1(>, we are instructed '• neither to show mercy 
nor pity." In James, c. i., ver. 13, v/c are told, that 
(n^d cannot be tempted, " neither temi)teth he any 
man ;" and yet in Gen., c. xxii., v. 1, we read that 
*' God did tempt Abraham ;" and in Matt., c. vi., v. 13, 
we are taught to cry out in our prayers, "and lead us 
not into temptation." In Micah, c. viL, v. 18, (iod 
"pardoneth iniquity." In Nahum, c. i., v. 3, "he 
will n^)t at all acquit the wicked." 

In 2 Peter, c. iii.. v. 9, (iod is "not willing \h^i any 
should perish," and still in Prov., c. xvi., v. 1, he made 
the wicked in order that they might p^.rish. "The 
liord hath made all things for himself, yea, even the 
wlrkcdfor the djiy of evil. " 14* 



1G2 



TJIE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



In Prov., c. xii., v. 22, it is said, '' Lying lips are 
an abomination to the Lord; " and yet in I Kings, c. 
xxii., V. 23, we are actnally told that " the 1 K>rd hatli 
pnt a li/ing spirit in the mouths of ail these thy 
prophets." 

John, c. i., V. 3., when speaking of (iod, says, ''All 
things were made by him," but Solomon, in his '' wis- 
dom,'^ c. i., V. 13, intimates that "God made not 
death:" and Paul, in his 1st Lpistie to( orin., c. xiv., 
V. 33, avers that '* God is not tiie author of con- 
fusion." 

fn Prov., c. xvi., v. 3, we read that the eyes of the 
liord are "in every place.'^ 

In (ien., c. iii., v. 9, God could not find Adam in 
Paradise, and had to ask, ''where art thou T' In 
Isl KiiMpc, c. yiii., v. 12, wc arc iiif<inn«Mj that llic 
l-i>nl rlwelleUi iu '' ifwk darhicsjt ;'' but Vxxwl m his 
l8l Kpisi. 'J'iiii.^ c. vj., V. Ifi. Kiys. iJiat no one e^ni 
AppnxirJi him uii acxMMim of his "i-rcvit hghl." 

I have iKM!U|iir<l .sMlhcieiu ofyoiir linR* with iiicon- 
gniiifces cxinnccti^l Willi /A-vVy; I will new r-minK'rat« 
A f<iw in rchiliuci co his iSV/;i. In Malt. c. v., v. 28, 
Chrihi 8ay«, " \MiofttK*ver .sliull say, tlmn JiaA, sX\ti\\ U' 
in <laiigcrof hell fire;" and yei, in iilrtnlcu||y |J|<. 
Biuno gospel, c. xxiii., v. 17—111, he cxcl;iintos '* Yo 
foiib anti hiinij. • In John, c. iiL, v. 15, Im; say^, •' Wlnv 
aofvcr hfttrih hiK hroilier, is a ntNifttrrr ; " ami Ktill no 
arc Colli by Hw? .s.i»ixr p4;rM^ii:u,i\ Uiko, c xiv., v. 2li, 
tluil wv ranimt Ui hi» di.>- i|>le^, nnU^ss wc '• halo** <Hir 
" iKTriJiix^i/ ' .iiiil not only onr brctlnvii, l^it imr •* wivc«> 
ohiUlrrfi, ixir«?nts, nay, <Mir own life al.-^o ; •' gloiioits 
eiwnnsicjicy ! httmttm pliil«)«4>j)liy ! In Man., e. xxvi., 
V. .V4, ji 1% stali^^ *' TJu?ii >aid Jr;fus iiiiio \\wm, piil 
up :4jnin ihy KW<ml into his phure, for nil ihey that 
lake \\¥i sword, sliall [Mjrisli with the «w«>rd/ ' 

In Liik<% c, xxii., v. :»» it «txiie«, "'llicn said he, 

(CJirwt,) iiiito llirm, hnt i>our Im ilmt hath a jwirsc let 

hiin lake il, ni>d 1 so hi.s scrip, and he that Inilh 

IH> Hword, let him stU hint i^finnuU andhtty owe.'* 

In Luke, c. xii., v. 1, iho following language is a|. 



Tilt: coNsisnwcY or thk ui«*e. 



10)3 



I 



tiihutod to Christ, "Ami 1 say nnto ymi, my friends, 
be not afraid of them thai kill ihe ln-^dv, niid aflor lliat 
have no more that tlioy <!au <lo:" and still, in Joliil, 
c. X., V. 39, we read, ♦* TherelWo, llu-y v>o\.\)^\\X agniu 
to take him, (( lirist,) Utt he rvtwyh-i/ ffUt of /heir 
hands:' And c. vii., T. 1, '• And afkT lh<-*e thiir^'8 
.Icsus walked in GaliltM?, for he wmdd iwrt walk in 
Jewry, because the Ji^ws stwirhl to hiit hsM.' In Jolin, 
c. X., V. 30, he says, " 1 and niv falhi-T arc <i«c." In 
c. xiv., V. 28, he say^ **My fallwr b grcaU-r than I.*' 

He observes again, in Mail., c. v., v. 31>, ** But I 
say unto you, that yn rtsiid tt*>f rrd, but whowcvcr 
shall smite thee on ihy ri|;hl • ^ iNt-N to him the 
other also.'' In liukc, c. xvii., v, I. lie i it is 

impossible but tluit o<lWicx?5 will conio, but rroc unto 
hiui llironjjh whuni lUey conic.*' Wc are loUl in John, 
c. iii., V. l7, that "ii«l .wiil nol his Sm into llfcC 
world to etfiidcmn \]\io. world. Uit ibal the woritl 
through htm nntjjht l)o &;ivcd ; " and vol ChriM him- 
self divlar :, ' i'hink not ihal 1 come In .send ]H?aoo 
oil earlli. I c<imo noi to send |)eaoe, Ixit a su^Mdy 
A straiiso m«^lo of saviiitr tin? worlil, truly ? »^nr inc 
fri^n\ si»4!li • Wfvi/;ii«/'— ^-savc me from my frionds/' 

Having dcvcloixxl a few, ami ikiIv a few, of the in- 
fionsisteiicios in tlic eharactet of CmkI and f 'lirial, con- 
lained in tlii.s '^infallible'- and '• iiibiiircd ;' v<ilnme, I 
|)nr|»o!i>L% i>rior to rnieriiit! into the hisrori' i^irt, to 
p lint oiil a few iiiemicrrniUcat ill it!> il . is and 

I H!triii<»*t, ^ 

\V4! will begin with the Tun (Viminaiwlinonte, Lx- 

<xlu«. c. x\*., V. 1 — 17. 

'rii<!»3 law^coinpriM! tlii> fd/h if ib<^ nnvral doctrines 
of the Jews. Tlic firsl ccuninaiwlmmt sayis v. 3, 
•• Tlion shall have wo n/A/r f fW-jf i^fort^ Mr; and yet 
f^od d«»clart% in the s^uik* l¥>«>k, Kx^kI., c rii> v. 1, " / 
Aifro tfifhlr. thtc *x (ityif to l*hani'd('^ .\iid ui < ii.» 
e. i, V. '2t*i. we Tea<l, '* I h?1 us luako nuui in o«tr im»g« ; '^ 
iiujplying, thai there mnsl Im» a ptioafifi/ of Ciods. 

In the sooond coinnsaiwlincnt, ilic Ibraelilcs wcro 



1 



\ 



IGl 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



Strictly enjoined not to make any ''graven images, or 
any likeness of anything that is in heaven ahove^ or 
that is in the earth heneatli^ or in the water under the 
carthP 

Singularly enongh, they are told by God, only a 
chapter or two afterwards, (c. xxv.. v. 18,) to make 
two "chernhims of gold'' — to make a likeness of one 
of the celestial animals — something that is in the 
'' heavens above ! " 

The same commandment informs ns, '' T, the Lord 
tliy (iod, am a jealons God, visiting the ini([nities of 
the fatlier npon the children, nnto the third and fonrth 
generation of them that hate me." 

Hnt we read in Ilzek., c. xviii., v. 20, that "the son 
shall not bear the iniqnity of the father, neither shall 
the father bear the ini([nity of the son." 

The third injunction states, v. 7, that " the Iiord 
will not hold him guiltless, that taketh his name in 
vain ; " and yet in \ahnni, c. i., v. o, we are told, that 
the fiOrd " pardoni^h iniipiity." And Jer., c. xxxi., 
V. :>1, says, that he " will romcniber their sins no 



more. 



The fonrlh comninndment insists that tlie Sabbath 
day shonld be kept "holy." We must do no mttnner 
of work ; but Ghrist himself dennn-rod to tliat doc- 
trine, in Mark, c. iii., v. 5. lie held that it was hiw- 
ftil to do what work we conceived good, on the Sab- 
bath (lav. 

\\\ Matt., c. xii., v. 5, he remarks, in justification of 
this, '' Now have ye not read in the law, how tliat on 
the Sab!)ath days, the priests of the temple profane the 
Sabbath, and are blamdca.^ ? " 

The fifth law, v. 12, commands us to *' honor thy 
father and thy mother; " while wc are told byGlirist, 
in Luke, c. xiv., v. 26, that if we -'Iiatc not onr father 
and our mother" we "cannot be ///.f disciples.^' 

In the sixth, it is said, " Tlion shalt not kill;" 
while ill Kxod., c. xxxii., v. 2", of the very same 
book, we arc told to "put every man his sword by 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



165 



his side, and go in and ont from gate to gate, and slay 
every man his brother, and every man his companion, 
and every man his neighbor." 

Hut in 2 Kings, c. x., v. PO, tlic •• T^ord" actually 
declares that murder is ''ri,^ht'' and reward:^ .lehii 
for committing it. " His children," says he, " to the 
third and fonrth generation shall sit on the throne of 

Israel." 

The seventh law states, " Thou shalt not commit 
adulfery/' Bnt, in Isaiah, c. xiii., v. 16, the Lord says of 
the Babylonians, that " their children shall be dashed 
to pieces bclore their eyes, their houses shall be spoiled, 
and their wives ravished/' There are many other 
passages, bnt they arc too obscene and revolting to 

quote. 

I could cite one instance in particular, mentioned 
in Matt., c. i., v. IS, but I presume it is blas>phemy, 
even to allude to it. 

The eighth law declares, "Thou shalt not .<?/c«/."--- 
But the Lord commands tlic Israelites, in Lxod., c. iii. 
V. 22, to "spoil the Egyptians," to rob tliem of their 
" jewels of gold, silver, and raiment."* Strange mo- 
rality, this ! Consistent book— infallible and immacu- 
late oracle of truth and goodness ! 

We will now brietly refer to the doctrine o( hmnor- 
lalitij. Christians pretend to quote many jiassages in 
favor of this dogma, such as, John, c. v., v. 28, and 
29: John. c. xx., v. 11—16; v. 21—27; c. xxi., v. 
12— 11 ; Acts, c. i., v. 0—11 ; and Matt. c. xxvii.,v. 52. 

The last apostle tells us that "the graves were 
opened and many bodies of saints which slept arose:' 
INow, it is said, in Job, c. vii., v. 9, " As the cloud is 
consumed and vanisheth away, so he that gocth down 
to the irrnve shall conte up no more! " In Ixcles., c. 
Iii V. 19-22, "Tor that wh^ch befalleth the sons of 
man befalleth beasts, even one thing befalleth them. 
As one dieth, so dicth the other; yea, they have all 
one breath, so that man hath no pre-eminence over a 
beast. Ml go t^nto one place, all are of the dust, and 



\l 



# 



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THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



all turn to dust again.''' A pretty prospect this for 
tlie soiil-nioiigers ! In Psalms, however, cxlvi., v. 4, 
it distinctly says, that man's "breath goeth forth, he 
returnetli to the earth; in that very day his thoughts 
2)erishy 

In reference to the duration of the world^ we find 
very opposite doctrhies promulgated. Eccles., c. i., 
V. 4, says, tliat " one generation passeth away, and 
another generation cometh, but the earth abidelli for- 
ever." But Matt., c. xiii., v. 49, talks of the "end 
of the world," and about the angels comnig fortli, &c. 
And letter, in his second Epistle, c. iii., v. 10, states, 
that " the earth also and the works that are therein 
shall be Ijunit up ! " 

In Romans, c. iii., v. 2S, it is said, " a man is justi- 
fied by faith^ without the deeds of the law." But, 
in James, c. ii., v. 24, it is remarked, " Ye see, then, 
how that by works a man is justified, and not by 
faith only.'' In Kphos., c. ii., v. 8, it says, " For by 
grace are ye saved, through faith."' But it is allirm- 
ed in James, c. xi., v. 20, "that faith ivithont works 
is dcad.'^ Respecting the ^abhath^ we are told in 
Exod., c. XX., V. 10, that it is the seventh day in the 
week ; while in John, c. xx., v. 1, we are told it is 
ihii first day. Which are we to believe? 

The following exhibits a few other glaring discre- 
pancies, hj Micha, c. iv., v. 3, we read that " tliey 
shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their 
spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up a 
sword against nation, neither shall they learn war 
any more.^^ And yet we are ordered to do diainetri- 
cally the reverse of this in Joel, c. iii., v. U), "Beat 
your ploughshares into sicords^ and your pruning 
hooks into spears, let the weak say I am strong." 
In 1 Tim., c. ii., v. 4, we are assured that the I^ord 
is solicitous that all should "come unto the know- 
ledge of the truth.'' But, in 2 'i'lies., c. ii., v. 11, it 
is said, "CJod should send them strong delusion that 
tliey should believe a //c / " In Prov., c. iv., v. Z, 



THE consistency OF THE BIBLE. 



1G7 



we are advised to "get wisdom" and- "get under- 
standing; " and yet we are assured in Eccles., c. i., 
V. 18, that "in much wisdom is much grief and he 
that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.^^ 

In Matt., c. X., v. 10, Christ says, " Be ye wise as 
serpents;" and still in 1 Corin., c. i., v. 19, we are 
told that the liord " will destroy the wisdom of the 
wise." In Psalms, c. xcii., v. 12, we read, "the right- 
eous s\m\\ flourish like the palm tree." But in Isaiah, 
c. Ivii., V. 1, it is stated, that the "righteous perish- 
eth.^^ In Romans, c. iii., v. 10, it is affirmed, that 
" There is none righteous — no, not one." 

But we are told in Gen., c. vi., v. 9, that Noali was 
a "righteous man," and in the Epistle of James, c. 
v.. V. 16, it says, " The prayers of a righteous man 
availeth much." Why should James make such an 
observation, if there were no righteous men 1 " Pray 
withoiU eeasing,^^ says Paul, 1 Thess., c. v., v. 17. 

But if we do, says the Lord in Isaiah, c. i., v. 15, 
"I will not hear." John observes, c. iii., v. 13, "A^o 
man hath ascended up into heaven." But in 2 Kings, 
c. ii., V. 11, we learn that Elijah "ascended up into 
heaven " by a " whirlwind I " 

" No man liath seen (lod at any tinie^^^ says John, 
c. i., V. 18; yet in Exod., c. xxxiii., v. 11, v/e arc 
told Moses saw him " face to face ; " and in c. xxiv., 
v. 9-11. that the seventy ciders of Israel, saw bun 
and dined with him. 

In Exod., c. xxxiii., v. 20, we are assured that no 
man shall see the Lord "and /ite;" and yet we are 
informed in Clen., c. xxxii., v. 30, that Jacob saw 

was 



the Lord, and fouglit with him and his liib 
''^ preserved.^ ^ 

Further 'inconsistencies will be found in the fol- 
lowing references. In Gen., c. i., v. 1, it states that 
hccrjen was created on tbe first day, while in v. G-S, 
it says it was created on tbe second. In («en., c. i., 
V. 27, it is said, God created man in his own image. 
But in Psalms, c. Ixxxix., v. G, it is asked, "Who is 



1G8 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



like tlie liord?" In Ocn., c. i , v. 28, God blesses 
tliosc who lire fruitful and inulliphj. In liuke, c. 
xxiii., V. 29, the harrcn^ not the fruitful^ arc blessed. 
In Gen., c. i., v. 31, it says, ''All that God created 
was good.^'' Yet in Isa., c. xlv., v. 7, the Lord says, 
''' I create evil.'' In Gen,, c. ii., v. 8, we are told, 
it is ?wl good for man to be alo?ic, while in 1 Corin., 
c. vii., V. 1, we read that it is '-good not to tmich a 
woninu.'' In (^en., c. iii., v. 0, it is said the woman 
saw before she ate of the frnir, while in the very next 
verse it says, her eyes were opened after catins^. In 
(Jen., c. iv., v. 1"), Cain was marked that lie shonld 
not be killed, while in c. ix., v. 0, it says the "blood 
shedder'' mnst ''die,'' In Gen., c. iv., v. 10, we are 
told Cain went Ironi the presence of the Lord, while 
in Rsahns, exxxix., v. 7, wo are told we cannot go 
from his presence. In Clen., c. vi., v. o-7^ we are 
intbrnied the earth was to be destroyed because it was 

m 

evil, while in c. viii., v. 21, it is stated that was the 
very reason it was 7iot to be destroyed, and in Gen., 
c. viii., V. 22, we read, ''Seed thne and harvest shall 
never cease,'"' while in c. xlv., v. 0, it is said, the 
earth should be fire years without either '' eating or 
harrest!'' hi (ien., c. x., v. 5, we are told each 
man was divided alter his tongue, while in the very 
next chapter, v. 11, we are intbrnied that the whole 
earth was one tongue. In Kxod., c. iv., v. 2i, it 
states, that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, but in c. 
viii., V. 1.5, we read that Pharaoh hardened his otrn 
heart. In Exod., c. xxv., v. 8, God says, "Make 
nio a sancturay to dwell in." Yet,' in Acts, c. vii., 
V. 4Sj wo arc told God dwelleth not in temples made 
with hands, hi Dent., c. xii., v. 20, it says, " Hat 
llesh whenever thy soul lustcth." And yet in l;om. 
c. xiv., V. 21, we are warned that it is 7iot good to 
eat llesh. In 2 8am., c, vi., v. 23, it says, Miclial, the 
daughter of Saul, had /io children ; bnt inc. xxi., v. 
8, of the satne bool:^ it states she had five ! I ! In 2 
J^lani., c. xxiv., v. 1, it states that God moved David 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



IGO 



to immber Israel : and yet in 1 Chron., c xxi., v. 1, 
that Satan provoked him to number them. Perhaps, 
God aijd the Devil were one and the same in those 
days. In 2 Sam., c. ii., v. 1-5, we read that David 
went to Hebron, and was made king of Judah only, 
while in 1 Chron., c. xi., v. 1-3, it says, he went to 
Hebron, and was made king over (dl Israel. In 
Matt., c. v., V. 39, we are commanded to "- Resist not 
evil ; " but in James, c. iv., v. 7, it bids us to " resist 
the Devil;" but, perhaps, the Devil is not an evil — 
certainly not the jmrsons^ — for \( he was to make his 
exit, their "occupation would be gone." In Gen., c. 
iv., v. 1*3-14, we are told that when the I^rd cmsed 
Cain, and sent him as a vagabond through the earth, 
Cain said that every one who found him woidd slay 
him. Now, who could ''every one" be, when, ac- 
cording to the Hiblc, there was no one then in exist- 
ence, Abel being murdered, but his own father and 
mother? In v. 16, 17, it says Cain went to the land 
of Nod, and got a wife. Where did he get her? 
There was no female then in existence but Eve— his 
own mother. The same verse, 17, says that Cain 
built a city. Hut, who was to inhabit it, pray ] 
There wiiva only him.self and his wife, and his in- 
fant son I'inoeh living — a very numerous population 
to require a city for their home ! 1 hope they had 
room cnoui'h. lint did Cain build the citv himself? 
That he could not do. Where then did he find the 
workmen ? Such are the discrepancies and coiUra- 
dictions which crowd this infallible book. A })retty 
production to be called God's word! I do not know 
whether (iod is ashamed to own it, but I should be. 

The historical incongruities arc singularly glaring 
and manifold. So multitudinous are they, indeed, 
that they would fill a volume of themselves. I must 
confine my animadversions to the New Testament^ 
and to one portion only — the Gospels. These books 
record the Pedigree, Miraculous (conception. Birth, 
Career, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of 

15 



170 



THi: CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 






Christ. They alFord one of llic most extraordinary 
instances of incongruous and contradictory history 
extant T.e(Mcrc, in his Sant., \). 285, might well 
observe, that "theologians have labored more than 
lOlMI years to reconcile them, bill icithoiit success.''^ 

Hishop Marsh, too, a most learned l^nglish divine 
and professor, confesses, in his celebrated lectures, 
that after all his attempts to reconcile the contradic- 
tion of St. John's account of the resurrection with 
that of Mark and Luke, he has not been able to do 
it in a manner satisfactory either to himself, or to any 
impartial in(pnrcr into truth ! No less than 200 har- 
monies or attempts to reconcile the gospels are al- 
ready in print. 

In respect to the pedigree or genealogy of Christ — 
in the first place, Luke's account is quite inconsistent 
with Mattliew's, as well as \vith the f )ld Testament. 
Matthew says, c. i., v. 17, that from Abraham to 
David are fourteen generations, but according to ]ds 
men list of names there can be only thirteen. He 
also affirms that from David to the captivity were 
fourteen generations, but according to tlie pedigree, in 
the Old Testament, I Chron., c. v., v. 10 to 15, there 
were eighteen. Total number of generations from 
Abraham to Christ, he estimates at forty-two, while 
his own list gives only forty ! A pretty calculator, 
truly ! not consistent with himself, much less with 
other inspired historians. Luke's genealogy, c. iii., v. 
23 to 38, records forty-three generations, and strange 
to say, these infallible men, Matthew and Luke, only 
aijrce in two names out of the forty-three, viz., David 
and Joseph — and even in relation to the progenitor of 
Joseph they do not agree. Luke says, v. 23, he was 
the son of Heli, but Matthew says, v. 16, he was the 
son of Jacob. 

One of these infallible gentlemen must have made 
a mistake. If jVlatthew spoke the truth, Luke must 
have spoken a falsehood, and vice versa. Falsehood, 
then, in the case, there must be — nay, it is a false- 



TIIE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



171 



1 



I 



hood altogether, if we are to believe Matthew, c. i., v. 
lb. Ihese evangehcal historians quote these gene- 
alogies to prove that Jesus is of the taniilv of David 
VVe trace the pedigree of Joseph up to 'David, and 
mier that Christ being the son of Joseph, lie descend- 
ed Iroin the man after God's own heart. Now in 
the verse just referred to, we are told that C^hrist was 
not the son of Joseph— but the son of a ghost ! VViuit 
a blunder ! \\ hat accurate genealogists f These gen- 
tlemen should have given ns the pedigree of tlie wily 
ghost not that of simple Joseph. Wiiat a pity it is the 
world has not been siq)})Iicd with such a cmioisiiy ! 

Let us speak of the mlracidoKs coitccptlou ; and mi- 
raculous, indeed, it is! Matthew says, c. i., v. 20 
tlie angel appeared unto Joseph, in a dream, and told 
liiin^ol his good fortune— but Luke says, c. i., v. 30 
to 'X)^ the angel did not appear unto the old Gentle- 
man, but unto ]\hiry herself Which story is correct? 
1 am alraid it is all a dream, and a very stupid one 
too ! 

In the account of the birth of Christ there are many 
contradictory statements. Matthew tells us, c. ii., v. 
1, that on his nativity in Ikthlchem, there came wise 
men ol the east to worship him ; while Luke states, 
c. ii., V. S, that it was only a number of ignorant 
shepherds who came, and who, instead of coming 
from the east, only came from the immediate neigh- 
borhood. Matthew observes, c. ii., v. 2, that these 
strangers were directed to liethlehem by a star • 
Luke, however, states, c. ii., v. 9 that it was an 
angel who led them. 

I have alfirmed that the career of Christ, from his 
birth to his death, is given by these inspired men 
very inconsistently. I will give you a {cw cases :— 
First, of the story of Joseph escaping with Christ and 
his mother to Egypt, immediately after his birth, to 
avoid Herod's persecution, Matthew is the only one 
who mentions this very important event, c. ii., v. 13; 
Luke states, on the contrary, c. ii., v. 21, that they 



« 



172 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



did not go, but remained where they were until after 
Christ was circumcised, and that they went up wUli 
him to Jerusalem, to present him m the temple, tlic 
most public place in tiie kingdom, and almost into 
ilerod s presijiice ! ! ! What consistency ! ^^ ,, 

(Jailing the apostles. Matthew, c. iv-;/- 1^' ^^^'^ 
us that Christ was walking by the sea of Galilee, and 
Peter and Andrew were in their ships hshing,^wlien 
he called them ; but L.uke allhins, c. v., v. o, tnat 
Christ himself was sittmg in their ships teachmg the 
people on shore, and the ii: hernien were out washing 
tlK^ir nets. John's story, however, c. i., v. o.) to l^l, 
is dilTerent from both. He says nothing about these 
men being lishermen, nor is there the least allusion 
to fishing, lie informs us that they were merely 
followers of John the Baptist. 

Another case is. the calling of an apost e, whose 
nume Matthew says, c. ix., v. 9, was Matthew; bu 
Mark declares, c. ii., v. 11, his name was Levi—ana 
yet, according to their own list, there was not an 

apostle of tliat name ! i • i\/r . 

(jhrist's sermon on the Mount is mentioned m Mat- 
thew c i V. 17, that he delivered this tamous sermon 
while slandin^r m a plain. Matthew's statement, 
therefore, of his delivering it while stituisr on a hill, is 
inconsistent with Luke's. When he had concluded 
this memorable discourse, Matthew remarks, c. vni., 
V 2 that he cleansed a leper ; but Mark records, c. 
i V 40 that he performed this cure when he was 
preaching in the synagogues throughout Galilee 

In MaUhew, c. viii., v. 5, we are informed, that 
when (Jhrist arrived at Capernaum, a centurion came 
to him and begged of him to come and hea Ins ser- 
vant ; but Luke says, c. vii., v. 3-/ , that the centu- 
rion only sent for him. Which was the fact ] 

Similar inconsistencies will be found in the story ot 
his curing Peter's wife — casting out ot devils, and 
sending them into the herd of swine, and other tales 
loo contemptible to mention. 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



173 



We will proceed to the meeting of .Tohn the Baptist 
and Christ. By referring to Matthew, c. x., and xi., 
we learn that it was afie?- Christ had sent out his 
a})osiles. that John sent his message to Christ; but by 
reading fiUkc, c. vii., and ix., we find that it was (be- 
fore he sent out his apostles, that John sent to him. 

The story of feeding the multitude, is replete with 
contradictions. Matthew says, c. xiv., v. 21, that 
there were 5000, besides women and children ; but in 
liuke, c. ix., V. 11, no women and children are men- 
tioned. In Matthew, c. xv.. v. 34, we are told they 
had seven loaves and a few little fishes ; Luke says, 
(to improve upon the miracle,) that they had only 
five loaves and two fishes, and that there were 12 
baskets full of fragments left. 

Tlie account of Christ's anointment, also, afibrds an 
instance of the irreconcileable disagreement of the 
evangelical history. Matthew, c. xxvi., v. 2, and 
Mark, c. xiv., v. 1, tell us, this was done two da^^'s 
before the last Passover; but .lohn, c. xii., v. 1, says 
it was six days ; Luke, however, c. vii., v. 3G, de- 
clares that it was more than two years before that pe- 
riod. The place wlierein it was performed, Matthew 
and Mark say, was the house of Simon the licper ; 
but Luke states, it was in the house of a Pharisee; 
while .Tohn records it as occunini!: in the house of 
Lazarus ! Matthew and Mark say the woman })oured 
the ointment on his head ; but, according to Luke 
and John, it was on his feet — a pretty concordance, 
truly ! 

Did time permit, I could edify you with some sin- 
gul.'ir and amusing discrepancies in the stories of the 
transfiguration of Christ, his restoring the blind, his 
taking the ass, the last supper, his denial by Peter, 
his betrayment by Judas, &c., — but having almost oc- 
cupied my time, I must hasten to the account of his 
crucifixion. 

Matthew relates, c. xxvii., v. 34, that when they liad 
brought Christ to the place of execution, they gave 

15* 



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in 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



175 



him vinegar to drink, mingled with gall ; bnt Mark 
records, c. xv., v. 25, that it was wine mingled with 
myrrh. Wliich was it] AVhich of these ''infallible" 
men speak the truth l Mark states, c. xv.. v. 25, that 
he was crncilied at the third hour; but .Tohn says it 
was the sixth. Matthew informs us that both the 
thieves, wlio were executed with Christ, reviled him ; 
but liuke says it was only one of them who reviled 
him, and the other rebuked his companion for so 
donig ! Which account is true? 

Similar inconsistencies will also be detected in the 
accounts given of the superscription placed over the 
head of Christ, and also in many other matters, but 
I have not time to enumerate them. 

I must speak of the resurrection. ]*^irst, of those 
who came to the sepulchre. Mattlunv, c. xxviii., v. 1, 
states, that it was Mary Magdalene, and another Ma- 
ry who came : liUke says. c. xxiv., v. 10, it was the 
two Marys, and .h^hanna and other women, who 
came; while, according to .Tohn, c. xx., v. 1, Mary 
Magdalene came alone ! ! Well may there be a ne- 
cessity for priests to write " liarmonies to the gospels.'' 

Matthew, c. xxviii., v. 2, observes, that an '• angel 
descended from heaven, and rolled back the stone 
from the door, and sat iipo?i it ; '' while Mark, c. xvi., 
V. 4, mentions, that he was not sitting outside, but 
inside tlic scptdc/tre^ o?i tJic right side. We learn from 
Matthew, that the visitants ireiit av: ay from the sepul- 
chre somewhat ahniptlij : bnt Mark says, they ue?d 
into it. When they entered, Mark declares that they 
saw o?tc young man, clothed in a long irhite garment, 
(wliether it was a shirt or surplice, we do not learn.) 
si/tijfif lit the right side ; bnt Luke gives an opposite 
statement — he says, there were two young men, and 



they were standing, and had on shining garments. — 
Matthew records, c. xxviii., v. 5. 6, that the ang 



to!;l the women of Christ's rising iVom the dead; but 
John says, c. xx., v. 11 — 17, that Christ told them 
himself; a^cordiu** -^ Luke, c. xxiv., v. 12, when Peter 



came to the sepulchre, he only looked into it, and did 
7^o/ go in; but John airirms, c. xx., v. 5, G, that hcdid 
go m^ and another disciple icith him;. Matthew relates, 
c. xxviii., V. 9, that when they saw him, they vor- 
shippedhim, m\di held him by the feet ; but John de- 
clares, c. xx., V. 17, that Christ icould not let them 
touch him! What consistency! What infallibility ! 
We now approach the last scene of this amusing 
farce — the Ascension. In ?Jatthevv, c. xxviii., v. 
7 — 17, it is intimated, that tlie disciples went to (/ali- 
lee to meet Jesus, according to appointment ; but Luke 
tells us, c. xxiv., v. 33— :](3, he appeared to them mi- 
cxpectedly at Jerusalem ; Lulce says, also, that when 
they did meet him, the disciples were terrified; but 
John says, c. xx., v. 20, they were glad to meet him ! 
According to Luke, v. 35, the whole of the eleven 
apostles were there ; but John states, that the apostle 
Thomas was absent, and when told of it, he icould not 
heliere it. Incredulous man ! Mark says, c. xvi., v. 
19, that Christ ascended into heaven, //y>/;i the place 
where the apostles were .^at at meat; but Luke affirms, 
c. xxiv., V. 50, that lie first led them out to Bethany.^ 
and that there his ascension took place. 

In Luke, c. xxiv., v. 13, we read, that Christ's as- 
cension took place on the same day as his resurrection 
— in the evening ; while we understand from John, c. 
XX., V. 26, that he appeared to his disciples several 
times, and remained upon the earth many days; 
(some say forty,) performing so many "wonders," 
that Jolin says, if they were written, the WORLD 
would not be large enough to cojitain all the books ! ! ! 
With this marvellous statement, John closes his gos- 
pel, and verily it is a closer ! 

Consistent evangelists — ''inspired" and '' infalli- 
ble " historians, indeed, scarcely to agree in any one 
particular, on any subject ! Were the same number 
of incongruities, equally gross and palpable, exhibited 
by four witnesses, in the meanest conrt in the land, 
upon the most frivolous case imaginable, their testi- 



I 



i 



17G 



THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIBLE. 



mony would be scouted with indignation and con- 
tempt. Why tlien should such evidence be admitted 
in relation to matters which arc solemnly proclaimed 
to be, of all others, the most sacred and momentous, 
involving the welfare of humanity, both now and 
•' through life everlasting" 1 Strange infatuation ! — 
Blind credulity ! Monstrous perversion of common 
sense, and moral principle ! 

My friends, I have reviewed a few, and but a few, 
of the inconsistencies observable in this precious pro- 
duction. Though I have only presented a modicum of 
what could be adduced, I flatter myself I have offered 
sufficient to invalidate the credibility of anij book, 
much less one which is alleged to be divuiely inspired. 
That man who would venture to uphold the infallibi- 
hty of the Bible, in the face of this prodigious mass of 
incongruity, is one who would set at naught all ac- 
knowledged criterion of truth, and all established prin- 
ciples of rational evidence, and the best advice 1 can 
render him is to " get wisdom, and with all thy get- 
ting, get iinderstaiiding,^^ 



LECTTTRE TENTH. 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLK 



Friends — 

This evening we sliall discuss the morality of tlie 
Bible. Believers in this book are remarkably fond 
of exhibiting its excellencies in this respect. When 
driven from every other position, they generally take 
refuge behind what they term the divine "morals" 
of the "Word of God." However discomfitted they 
may have been upon other questions connected with 
the divinity of the Scriptures, on resorting to this 
" strong-hold," their courage is revived, and, like the 
omnipotent Deity after resting on the seventh day, 
they return to the encounter quite "refreshed." I 
must say, it is somewhat astonishing, such bravado 
and exultation should be exhibited upon a point, in 
which I conceive, the Scriptures are more vulnerable 
than any other. I cannot account for such a para- 
dox, except that the Christian world, knowing their 
weakness upon this head, are desirous to supply the 
deficiency, by assumption and dogmatism. Things 
generally make the greatest noise when they are most 
empty. 

My friends, if there is one thing connected with this 
controversy clearer than another, it is that the Bible 
is an immoral pubhcation. I will allow, before I 
proceed, that there are a feiv redeeming qualities — a 
sprinkling of good passages, (and in what book is 



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THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



179 



■m 

there not sfymcthing good?) but these passages are 
so rare, that ^4ike angels' visits/' they arc "lew and 
far between." But, even the unexceptionable parts, 
limited though they be, are by no means origmal. 
Most of them are merely borrowed from other produc- 
tions, as it is incontestable that moral precepts, equal- 
ly admirable, were taught by the sages of (ircece, the 
philosophers of Rome, the Brahmins of India, and the 
Reformer of China, long anterior to the introduction 
of Christianity— before either the Old or New Testa- 
ment were written. 

1 shall comment at length upon this subject in a 
subsecpient lecture. I will only remark, at this mo- 
ment, that Thales, Pittacus, and Confucius, wise and 
i^ood men whose ethics, in many respects, were iden- 
tical with those of the Scriptures, llourishcd at a 
much caiiicr })eriod tlian Christianity. Thales lived 
GOO years before Christ; Pittacus, 570 ; and Coniu- 
cius, 500. These three distinguished men taught the 
very doctrine of which Christians are so proud, and 
aliirm is so eminently peculiar to their system, viz., 
'■' Do unto others as you would wish others to do 

unto you." 

Thales say-, Avoid doing what you would blame 
others for doing." Pittacus enjoins, -'Avoid doing 
that to your neighbor which you would take amiss 
if he were to do to you." And Confucius taught, 
" Do to another what you would they should do unto 
you, and do not unto another what you would should 
NOT be done unto you: thou only needest this law 
alone ; it is the foundation and principle of all the 
rest."— Moral 24. 

These sentiments are exactly the same as those en- 
forced by Christ 500 years afterwards. 

Mr. Dnnlap, in his' justly celebrated defence of Ab- 
ner Kneeland, the Amc^rican Freethinker, indignantly 
asks, '• Was there no morality in the days of Homer, 
Pythagoras, Solon, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and ^ irgil? 
Was there no morality in the vast, populous, and 



civilized empire of China in the time of Confucius? 
Was there no morality in the kingdom of Egypt, 
where, before even the commandments were given, 
'mid the thunders of Mount Sinai, Benjamin was 
accused of an offence against morality, because of 
the cup of Joseph which was found in his sack? 
Was there no morality among the immense nations 
of the American continent, stretching almost from 
pole to pole, till the lofty and daring genius of Co- 
lumbus impelled him to the discovery of the New 
World? Has there been no morality from the ear- 
liest times in those seats of innocence and contem- 
plation, the dwellings of the Brahmins?" Granting, 
then, that there may be a feiv moral precepts in the 
Bible, they are but borrowed — second-hand; and, 
therefore, if we are indebted to any one for these 
morals, it is not to Christianity, but to men greater 
than any recorded in the " Holy Word." 

Not only, however, are these precepts not original, 
but many of them are utterly impracticable, and, 
therefore, useless ; nay, some,' if they were to be 
literally followed, would be actually pernicious, in- 
asmuch as tliey would destroy the physical and 
mental industry of man, and inevitably lead to fam- 
ine, ignorance, and misery. For instance, in Matt., 
c. vi., V. 25, 20, we are told to "take no thought for 
your hie, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, 
nor yet for your body what ye shall put on. Is not 
the life more than meat, and the body than raiment/ 
Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not. neither 
do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly 
father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than 
they?" What would follow the practice of such a 
doctrine as this ? Utter confusion, want, and degra- 
dation. Supposing the people were to adopt it — 
supposing the working classes were to begin to ex- 
hibit such pious indifference to things carnal, and, in 
pursuance of that virtuous resolve, were to acquaint 
his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury that they 



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THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



were truly penitent for having so long committed so 
grievous a sin as to earn their bread (and his bread,) 
by the " sweat of their brow," and that now they 
were really determined upon being good Christians, 
in " caring not as to what they should eat, or what 
they should drink," but that they and he, and the 
rest of the idle drones of the community, should de- 
pend for their subsistence, ''like the fowls of the air," 
upon their " heavenly father," how queer he would 
look, and how he would laugh at them for adopting 
the very system he is paid to teach ! Heaven knows 
it would be a fortunate thing for the starving millions 
if this doctrine could be really practised ! Many are 
they who are now precluded from producing food 
either to "eat " or to "drink." I would advise them, 
therefore, "to shut their eyes, open their mouth, and 
see what God will send them J' and never more be so 
wicked and irreligimis as to wish to work to provide 
for themselves and families ! 

Again, in Mark, c. v., v. 44, it is said, " Love your 
enemies." But who can do this? It is morally im- 
possible. You may j^^ly your enemies — -forgive them, 
but so long as they are your enemies, you cannot 
love them. It is inherent in human nature that 
man should like that which imparts pleasure, and 
dislike that which produces pain. You might as 
well, therefore, have been commanded to love the 
viper that would destroy you, as the enemy who 
would ruin you. 

From these instances, it is obvious, that what little 
morality the Bible contains is stolen, impracticable, 
or absurd. 

Considering this notorious oracle, therefore, in the 
most favorable point of view, it is but a miserable 
production. 

We will now glance at the dark side of the picture, 
and dark indeed it is ! What scenes of crime, butch- 
ery, and obscenity open to our view ! My blood 
grows cold with horror when I think of the atrocities 
which it details. 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



181 



If, my friends, there be no other argument against 
the divinity of tlic Bible but its immorality and ob- 
scenity, THAT alone is sufficient to condemn it. A 
book emanating from a Being of purity, wisdom, and 
love, would of necessity have been presented free 
from all moral impurity, and clothed in language 
beautiful and chaste. To assert, therefore, that a 
book like the Bible is a revelation from such a Being, 
is to aver that which is truly monstrous. Talk of 
blasphemy and blasphemers — if there be such a thing 
as "blasphemy," and such men as " blasphemers " — 
they are certainly those who maintain the divinity of 
the Bible! Its pages ought to make any virtuous 
and enlightened man blush. 

Apprehend not, that I intend to wound your feel- 
ings, or offend propriety, by quoting these obscenities. 
I would not pollute my lips with them. However 
Christians may admire them, I should feel for the 
individual who would attempt to read them 'publicly. 
I shall, therefore, abstain from quoting the impurities 
of the Bible. Those who wish to become acquainted 
Avith tlmt portion of the subject, would perhaps do 
well to possess themselves of a small work of mine, 
entitled "The Holy Scriptures Analyzed, or Extracts 
from the Bible; showing its contradictions, absur- 
dities, and immoralities." 

I find on reading the celebrated discussion between 
the Rev. Mr. Greg and the Rev. Mr. Maguire, at 
Dublin, (the former a Protestant minister, and the 
latter a Catholic priest,) Mr. Maguire made the fol- 
lowing observations upon this point : — "I beg of you 
not to continue such a practice; it is disreputable. 
I will ask Mr. Greg a question, and I beg of you my 
brethren of the Protestant Church to bear this in 
mind, I will ask him, if he dare to take up the Bible 
and read from the book of Genesis the fact of Onaii — 
I ask him will he read that? Will he read the fact 
relative to Lot and his two daughters ] Will he read 
these and many other passages which I could point 

10 



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THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



183 



out to him in the Holy Bihle, which I would not 
take one thousand guineas, nay, all tlie money in t'lc 
world, and read it here to-day." A signilicant cir- 
cunisttuice that a priest should he asJiamcd to read 
from a hook which he believes was inspired by < 'od ! 
Listen to the extraordinary declaration of Richard 
I.alor Shiel, Esq., M. P., member of the Wliig ad- 
ministration, and one of the privy councillors to the 
Queen. In the Church of Ireland Magazine for 1825, 
the following language is ascribed to that brilliant 
orator: — '-Many passages in Scripture were written 
with such force, and he might say, with nakedness 
of diction, as rendered them u.ntit for indiscriminate 
perusal. There were parts of the Old Testament in 
which images of voluptuousness were presented to 
the mind on which the imagination of a youthful fe- 
male ought not to be permitted to repose. He would 
venture to assert that the Odes of Anacreon did not 
display more luxury of imagination, or combine more 
sensual associations than parts of the (.)ld Testament, 
''rhe Bible contained details of atrocity at which hu- 
man nature shuddered. Part of the holy writings 
consisted of history, and of the narration of facts of 
a kind that could not be mentioned in the presence of 
a virtuous woman without exciting horror. Should 
a woman be permitted to read hi her chamber, what 
she would tremble to hear at her domestic board 7 
Shall she con over and revolve what she would rather 
die than utter ? " 

What kind of a book, my friends, can that be, at 
the perusal of which, a virtuous mind must shudder '? 
Can it be the word of a God '? Ah ! let the Christian 
world blush at their effrontery, and cease to exclaim 
against ^' blasphemy and impiety.'' 

Having explained myself upon this subject, I shall 
proceed to consider some of those passages which in- 
culcate or connive at immorality. I shall begin, by 
describing the leading characters of the Bible — the 
lieroes of this improbable tale, the favorites of the 



Bible Cod ! These personages, we might have pre- 
sumed, vrcrc paragons of perfection, the beau ideal of 
intellectual and moral beauty, but instead of such pre- 
sumption being realized, I boldly assert that the ma- 
jority of them were the most cunnmg, cruel, and des- 
picable characters on record. 

The first of these Scripture paraijons I shall name, 
is Noah — the only individual, with his family, who 
was considered worthy of being saved at the Deluge. 
Surely, he was a moral man. Very moral ! for we 
read in Cen., c. ix., v. 21, 22, that he was found in 
such a state of obscene drunkenness, that I forbear 
quoting the passage. If there were many Noahs in 
the world, teetotalism, I apprehend, would be at a dis- 
count. I will ask, was it a moral act upon the part 
of Noah, to curse his own son ? See Cen., c. ix., v. 25. 
If all fathers were to take Noah as a pattern, paternal 
affection would be unknown. 

Abraham, the patriarch, we read in Gen., c. 20, v. 
1 — 5, uttered the most barefaced falsehood to Abime- 
lecli. King of Gerar. He unblushingly told him that 
his wife was not his wife, but only his sister; and in 
Gen., c. xxi., v. 9, 10 — 14, we learn, that he put out 
one of his wives, the Egyptian Ilagar, and left her 
and her child to wander in the " wilderness of Beer- 
sheba." The unfeeling brute ! 

Isaac, the son of Abraliam, another very prominent 
character in the early history of the l^ible, followed 
the virtuous example of his father. In Gen. c. xxvi., 
V. 7 — 9, it states that he, also, denied his wife. The 
story is truly obscene. 

Jacob, the favored son of Isaac, and the person 
whom, we read in Malachi, c. i., v. 2, 3, the liord 
loved so much, endeavored to deceive his own father. 
Gen. c. xxvii., v. 19. He, also, robbed his ov/n bro- 
ther, Esau, as stated in v. 36 ; and in c. xxix., and 
xxx., we read of his perpetrating three of the greatest 
crimes that a man could commit-;— incest, polygamy, 
and adultery. 



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184 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



i 



Moses, the "meekest man" in history, and private 
socretary to the Bible-Ciod, was a dclibcrale murderer 
— a wretch, who, in this country, would be deemed 
unfit to live. In Exodus, c. ii., v. 11, 12. we road, 
" And it came to pass m those days, when Moses was 
grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked 
on their burdens, and he spied an Egyptian smiting 
an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this 
way, and that way, and when he saw that there was 
no man, he slew the l']gyptian, and hid him in the 
sand." This is absolute, unqualified homicide. But 
Moses was, also, an instigator to murder, on a largt; 
scale, as seen particularly in Numbers, c. xxxi. He 
was, likewise, an inciter to prostitution, as evidenced 
in V. 17, and 18, of that chapter. The butcheries, in- 
deed, committed at the instance of that divine favor- 
ite, are unparalleled. 

Joshua was well worthy of his meek predecessor. 
The atrocities perpetrated by him, "in the name of 
the liord," are truly frightful — I decline quoting them. 
You may refer to the book of Joshua, c. x., v. 17 — 26, 
if you arc disposed to gratit'y your curiosity. 

Samuel, the next Bible hero, was the heaii ideal of 
a priest. To reason with his opponents, he consider- 
ed a loss of time. He could best dispose of their ob- 
jections, b}j aittm^ off their heads ! We are told, in 
the 1st Sanuiel, c. xv., v. 33, that he "hewed Agag in 
pieces before the Lord, in Gilgal : " and in v. 3, of the 
same chapter, we observe his priestly hatred so im- 
placable, that it extended itself to the very himtcs. He 
orders Saul to go and " smite Amalek, and utterly de- 
stroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay 
both man and woman, infant and suckling, camel and 
ass ! '' A pretty command to be given by one of a 
body of men who ought to be examples to their fel- 
low creatures ! 

We read, in 2 Kings, c. ii., v. 23, 21, that Elisha, 
another Bible hero, and "man of God," cursed some 
little children " in the name of the Lord," for simply 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



185 



exclaiming, in their childish frolic, "bald-head.; " and 
that the liOrd very kindly listened to his curses, and 
instantly there appeared two she bears, who devoured 
forty-two of the youngsters ! Such an old " inspired " 
brute was highly deserving of Biblical distinction. 

David, who is called "the man after God's own 
heart," and, therefore, the person, who, above all 
others, ought to have afiJ'orded the finest specimen of 
humanity, was the very embodiment of depravity 
and brutality. In the 2d Samuel, c. xi., v. 2-0, we 
are told of his committing adultery under the most 
revolting circumstances. In the 1st Samuel, c. xxi., 
V. 12, 13, we learn of his descending to the most 
disgusting dissimulation before Acish, the King of 
Gatli. In 2d Samuel, c. xii., v. 29-31, a scene of the 
most liorrible butchery is presented to us, occasioned 
by this prototype of the Bible Deity. He put the 
people of Rabbah " under saics and under harrows of 
iron, and a.ves of iron., and made them pass through 
the briclc-kilns ; and thus did he unto all the cities of 
the children of Ammon." Cruelty like this could not 
be surpassed. David exhibited his natural ferocity 
of character even upon his very death-bed. Speak- 
ing of the son of Gera, a Benjamite, he enjoins his 
son Solomon, almost in his last breath, " Now, there- 
fore, hold him not guiltless, for thou art a wise man, 
and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; 
but his hoary head bring thou down to the grave 
with blood ! " 1 Kings, c. ii., v. 8, 9. Did ever mor- 
tal man die with such a curse on his lips ? Did any 
father, at such a moment, exhort a child to the com- 
mission of such crimes ! Oh ! what an example to 
the world ! What morality ! What humanity ! 

Solomon's career, though he is proclaimed to be the 
"wisest man" tliat ever lived, was only that of a 
voluptuary aud debauchee. Were the human race to 
follow his bright example, virtue and chastity would 
be mere names. To convince you of the justness of 
my remarks, I need but remind vou that in 1 Kings, 

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THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



187 



i 



c. xi., V. 3, it states, "And lie (Solomon) had seven 
hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred con- 
cuhines, and his wives turned away his heart ! " 
His songs, wliich from liis ^'wlsdm/i,'^ ought to have 
been the perfection of purity and correctness of style, 
are so lascivious, that many of them would disgust 
the most depraved ])acchanalian. I will not quote 
them. You may read them for yourselves, particu- 
larly c. vii., V. 1-1. 

The characters here reviewed constitute the "great 
Ughts" of the OA/ Testament, and pretty lights they 
arc! Those of the New are Jesus Christ' — and his 
three principal apostles, Paul, Peter, and .lohn. In 
my third address, I had occasion to speak at length 
of Christ and the two former aj)ostles, as illustrative 
of the system of imposture pursued by the early 
Christians, to which observations I beg to refer you. 
I need not, therefore, on this occasion, occupy much 
of your time with remarks upon these passages. 

I may ask, however, what morality is there in the 
following account of the genealogy of .lesus Christ, 
the " Saviour " of the world — one whose origin, 
above all other beings, should have been honoriible 
and illustrious? I will quote the language of Dr. 
Alexander Walker, in his work on "Woman," p. 
330, — a writer eminent as a Christian, not an Infidel. 
Had such an observation been made by one of my 
class, it would have been denounced "blasphemous." 
" It is remarkable," says he, "that, in the genealogy, 
of Christ, only four women have been named! Tha- 
mar, who seduced the father of her late husband; 
Racliel, a common prostitute; Ruth, who, instead of 
marrying one of her cousins, woit to bed with anothei^ 
of them ; and BetJisJieha an adulteress^ who espoused 
David, tJie inurderer of her first husband ! " What 
a pedigree! — and for the "Son of God," too! 1 
should be ashamed of such an origin. No wonder 
that our virtuous aristocracy are so inditferent about 
their "illustrious" ancestors! In Luke, c. xxii., v. 






36, Christ gives the following command to his peace- 
able dupes — a command which may suit the taste of 
the " Iron Duke," — "But now he that hath a purse, 
let him take it ; and he that hath no sword, let liim 
sell his garment and buy one ! " In -lohn, c. xv., v. 
0, he charitably exclaims. " If a man abide not in me, 
he is cast forth as a brancli and is withered^ and men 
gather them, and cast them into theyire, and they arc 
burncdJ^ xVgain, in Luke, c. xiv., v. 26, " If a man 
come to me and hate not his father and mother, and 
wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, his 
own life also, he cannot be my disciple." If this 
absurd and inhuman doctrine was followed, all do- 
mestic comfort and aflcction would be annihilated. 
For other passages relative to Christ ; see Luke, c. 
xii.. V. 49-51 ; Matt., c. x., v. 34, 3.5 ; Mark, c. xvi., 
V. 16; Mark, c. iv., v. 11, 12; Mark, c. xi., v. 1-3, 
which detail the affair of the colt — an act for which 
a man would now be transported, and twenty years 
ago hanged ; Mark, c. ii., v. 23-26, which informs us 
of the depredations the disciples of Christ committed 
amongst the farmers' corn, as they were passing by 
the way-side — (an act for which an individual would 
now be condemned for larceny) but which Christ, in 
opposition to the dicta of the learned judges of this 
age, pronounced innocent and commendable. Also 
Mark. c. v., v. 11, 12, and c. xi., v. 12-21. In these 
four latter references, Christ is represented either as 
taking or destroying other people's property himself, 
or allowing his followers to do it ; which, of course, 
coming from him, is eminently moral, and a fine pre- 
cedent to the light-fingered gentry of this Christian 
land ! 

Paul, who, after the death of Christ, was the main 
champion of Christianity, unblushingly declares in 
his 2d Lpistle to Cor., c. xi., v. 8, "I robbed other 
churches to do y^e service." In Rom., c. iii., v. 7, he 
exclaims, " For if the truth of Cod hath more abound- 
ed through my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also 



i»a*Ji*g«gitolP' >-^-« --■'"^ ^".ti-ji.a.j.jiijgaj 



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THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



189 



judged as a sinner?" In 2d Cor., c. xii., v. 16, he 
says, " Being crafty, I caught you with guile." How 
honest ! How honorable ! In Cial., c. i., v. 9, he pro- 
pounds the following monstrous doctrine : — " As we 
said before, so say I now again, if any men preach 
any other doctrine nnto you, than that ye have re- 
ceived, let him be accursed.'^ Excellent morality ! — 
so excellent, that were it generally practised, the 
world would become a scene of moral strife and 
enmity. 

Peter's denial of his Master, Luke, c. xxii., v. 54- 
58, is of a like character to Abraham's and Isaac's 
denial of their wives; and were f/teir (example fol- 
lowed, all truth and sincerity would be destroyed. I 
shall say little at this moment of Peter, deliberately 
drawing the sword, and cutting off the right ear of 
the priest's servant; John, c. xviii., v. 10. The act 
is so flagrantly cruel and unjust, that were it defend- 
ed for a moment, no one's life would be safe in a 
Christian country. Every desperado might indulge 
in his atrocities with impunity. Nor need I enlarge 
on the blackguardism of Peter — his '' cursing and 
swearins: " recorded in Matt., c. xxvi., v. 7L Bias- 
phcmy in a Christian apostle is passed over in silence. 

.John, in his second Epistle, c. i., v. 10, gives the 
following truly Christian injunction : — "If there come 
any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive 
him not into your house ; neither bid him God speed." 
Were .lohn's admonitions strictly obeyed, the world 
would become an arena of the most relentless intole- 
rance anrl inhumanity. All the most delightful ties 
which bind civilized society, hospitality, courtcs}^ per- 
sonal respect, vsocial intercourse, would be dissevered, 
and man would be left to grovel in bigotry and dog- 
matism. Yet the men who enunciate such doctrines, 
are those whom we arc trained to admire, revere, an(l 
almost deify. How infamous ! Were we to take the 
Bible prodigies as our models, instead of our advanc- 
ing in toleration, humanity, and enlightenment, wo 



\ 



should soon retrograde to a state of brutality and bar- 
barism. 

Those names upon whoui I have been expatiating, 
are the "elite'- of the Bible, ilic "literati,"' the ^'fa- 
vored few" with whom the Deity would alone have 
auy association. 

What a contrast to the character of those illustrious 
men of ancient times, who knew not the " blessings of 
the Divine Word " — to our Socrates, Thales, Zeno- 
phon, Plato, Zeno, Epicurus, Aristides, Phocian, Cice- 
ro, Pliny, Seneca, and a phalanx of other wise and 
good men, compared with whom the Scriptural heroes 
shrivel into nothingness ! O! talk not to me of the 
morality of the Bible, in the presence of such glorious 



names 



I 



We will, therefore, proceed with our subject. We 
have still a great task to perform, and little time left 
to complete it. My remarks will, necessarily, be very 
summary. I hasten to refer you to passages which 
incite to the commission of various crimes. 

Driinkenness. In .Jeremiah, c. xxv., v. 27, it says, 
" Therefore, thou shalt say unto them, drink ye, and 
be drunken, and spnc, and fall down, and rise no inore, 
because of the sword which I will send amongst you." 
In Dent., c. xiv., v. 26, we are presented with a speci- 
men of latitudhiarianism, highly palatable to an anti- 
teetotaller — " And thou shalt bestow that money for 
whatsoever thy soul lustcth after, for oxen, or for 
sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or whatsover 
thy soul desire th." 

Robbery. See the case of Paul, as previously quoted ; 
also, Exod., c. iii., v. 21, 22, where the Lord states, 
"And 1 will give this people favor in the sight of the 
.Egyptians : and it shall come to pass, that, when you 
go away, ye shall not go empty. But every woman 
shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourn- 
eth iu her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, 
and raiment ; and ye shall put them upon your sons, 
and upon your daughters, and yc shall sfoil the 



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THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



191 



Kgyptians." What a virtuous scene society would 
bcconie if tliat example was Ibllowed I If every Eu- 
glislunau and Irishuiaii in the " laud o' cakes," on 
leaving the country, were to adopt tins practice, the 
*'cannie Scotchman" would both look and feel most 
"unutterable things." For other examples, sec I Cor., 
c. X., V. 21. 

Vagabondism. In Psalms, cix., v. 10, it says, " liCt 
liis children be coutiiuially vagabonds, and beg;" in- 
dividuals, wlio, in this Christian country, are now 
treated as criminals. 

Bigamy. See Dent., c. xxi., v. 15 — 17. The pas- 
sage is not fit to quote. See, also, the " illustrious ' 
instance of Solomon, 1 Kings, c. xi., v. 3. A inoreun- 
bhishing case of bigamy cannot be cited than this ad- 
mired Bible-hero. Seven hundred wives ! But he 
had three hundred concubines to boot ! And this is 
the '• wisest man " of whom the Bible-readers can 
boast. I admire their taste.' " 

Prostitution. See llosea, c. i., v. 2, and Judges, 
c. xxi., V. 12. These passages are only fit for a 
(yhirstiau to quote. I will read you, however, the 
following example from Xumb., c. xxi., v. 17, 18: — 
*'I\ow, therefore, (says Moses) kill every male among 
the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known 
man by lying with him. But all the women children, 
that have not known a man, by lying with him, keep 
alive for yourselves ! " What generous prudence ! 

Adultery. This crime the " LiOrd " threatened the 
Babylonians their wives should sutfer. '• Their chil- 
dren (says he, in Isaiah, c. xiii., v. 10,) shall be dash- 
ed to pieces, their houses shall be spoiled, and their 
icives lavished.'^ What a threat ! See also Matt., c. 
i.j v. 18. 

I find some curious doctrines upon the subject of 
Marriage^ which I will here introduce. I commend 
them to the consideration of Dr. Ward law. 1 advise 
him to issue an appendix to his new work on Prosti- 
tution, and amongst writings which he mentions as 



inculcating lax notions upon this subject, to include. 
" the Holy Bible." I will refer you in the first place 
to Deut., c. xxi., v. 10-14. The language is too ob- 
jectionable to quote. I may state that if we were to 
practice the license therein granted, a man might 
change his wife every month. 1 will next refer you 
to Deut., c. xxiv., v. 1, 2. We are there told that: 
"When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, 
and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, 
because he hath found some uncleanness in her; then 
let him (the man himself) write her a bill of divorce- 
ment, and give it into her hand, and send her out of 
his house: and when she hath departed out of his 
liouse, she may go and be another man's wife!" 
This extract needs no comment. 

Degradation and Enslacement of Women. The Bi- 
ble, and more especially the NeiC Testament^ abounds 
in passages in contempt of the gentler sex. Paul 
says, in 1 Tim., c. ii., v. 11, "Let the women learii 
in silence with all subjection ;'^ and in 1 Cor., c. xiv., 
V. 34, 35, he exclaims, "Let your women keep si- 
lence in the churches: for it is not })crmitted unto 
tJieni to speak ; but they are coinnianded to be under 
obedience^ as akso saitli the lau\ And if they will 
learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, 
for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." 
See also 1 Tim. c, ii., v. 12; and Lph., c. v., v. 22, 23. 

Slffvery and t//e Slave Trade. In support of that 
monstrous system, I could quote many passages from 
this book. In Lev., c. xxv., v. 44-46, I read, " Both 
thy bondmen and thy bondmaids, which thou shall 
have, shall be of the heathen that are round about 
you, of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. 
Moreover, of the cliildren of the strangers that do 
sojourn among you, of them shall ye ^?/y, and of their 
families that are with you, which they begat in your 
land, and they shall be your possession. And ye shall 
take them as an inheritance for your children after 
you- to inherit them for a possessioUj they sliall be 



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THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



your bondmen forever f'^ What an iniquitous traffic 
in liuman life ! See also Joshua, c. ix., v. 21, and 
Joel. c. iii.. V. 8, where the "Lord" exclaims, "And 
1 will sell your sons and your daughters^ into the 
hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell 
\\w\\\ to tlie Sabcans to a people afar otF; for the 
li()i;i) hath spoken it." The American parsons may 
well say that the Bible sanctions slavery! 

Alio/ij^ij for tyranny and oppression, hi Heb., c. 
xin., V. ir, we are told, ex})licitly, to "obey them 
t!iat ride over yon, and snbniit yourselves; " and in 
J looter, c. ii., v. 13, we are commanded to ''^ Sitbniit 
yourselves to ecery ordiiKuice of man for the Lord's 
sahy A most convenient doctrine to all tyrants 
and nsnrpers! The same audacious priest thus com- 
mands us m V. 18, "Servants, be subject to your 
masters, with all fear^ not only to the irood and the 
i,'<'ntle, but to the froward ! " I>ut these are modest, 
conipared with the following language of Paul: " Let 
every soul he subject unto the higher powers, for 
there is no p^oirer but of God — the powers that be are 
ordained of (i'd; whosoever, therefore, resisteth the 
power, resistelh the ordinance of (Jod, and they that 
resist shall rcc<Mve dattination ! ^^ Rom., c. xiii., v. 
1-3. What a doctrine ! How like the Hible ! For 
other passages, see Titus, c. li., v. 9, and llosea, c. 
xii., V. 7. 

Disconragement of i^iriuc. " Be not righteous over- 
much, neither make thyself over wise, why shouldst 
thou destroy thyself?" Eccles., c. vii., v. 16. In 
Rev., c. xxii., v. 11, it is stated, " He that is unjust 
let him be unjust still, and he that is filthy let him be 
filthy still." That is the doctrine of finality with a 
V(!ngeaiice. 

Enconragement of igiioi^ance and error. Paul, in 
1 Cor., c. xiv., V. 38, writes, " But if any man be ig- 
norant, let him be ignorant." And in c. i., v. 27, he 
says, " But God hath chosen the foolish things of the 
world to confound the ivisc.^^ In Isa., c. vi., v. 10, 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



193 



it is ordered, " Make the heart of this people fat, 
and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest 
they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, 
and understand with their heart, and convert, and 
be healed." See also c. Ixiii., v. 17; and Exod., c. 

xix., V. 12, 13. 

Enconras'cment to Lying- and Falsehood. In 2 
Thess. c. il, v. 11, we are told, "And for this cause, 
God shall send them strong delusions, that they should 
believe a lie." And in 2d Chron., c. xviii., v. 21, the 
Lord is represented as saying, " 1 will go out and be 
a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets." Ezek., 
c. XX., V. 25, informs us that the Lord set a very good 
example to the world, for we are told that he "gave 
them statutes that were not good, and judgments 
whereby they should not live." See, likewise, Gen., 
c. xxvii., V. 19 ; c. xxviii., v. 13—15 ; c. xxvi, v. 7—12 ; 
Jer., c. XX., V. 17 ; and Ezek., xiv., v. 9. 

Enconragenient to Hypocrisy, and an exquisite spe- 
cimen of morality it is. In 1 Sam., c. xvi., v. 1, 2, we 
read, "And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long 
wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him 
from reigning over Israel '? Fill thine horn with oil, 
and go. 1 will send thee to Jesse, the Bethlemite, for 
I have provided me a king from among his sons. And 
Samuel said, how can 1 go? If Saul hear me, he will 
kill me. And the Lord said, take an heifer with thee, 
and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord." 

Breach of Faith. In Num., c. xiv., v. 30—34, the 
Lord observes, " Doubtless, ye shall not come into the 
land, concerning which / swore to make yon dwell 
therein, save Caleb, the son of Jephannah, and Joshua, 
the son of Nun, after the number of the days, in which 
ye searched the land, and forty days, each day for a 
year, shall be your iniquities, even forty years, and ye 
shall know my breach of promise ! ! '[ What a glori- 
ous specimen of honesty and good faith ! 

Primogeniture. This most unjust and pernicious 
law is strictly enforced, in Deut., c. xxi., v. 17, "But 

17 



191 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



he sliiill ack now lodge the son of the liatod for tlio first- 
born, by givnig him a double portion of all that he 
haih, for he is the beginning o( his strength, the right 
of the first-born is his." For other instanees, see (ien., 
c. x\^i., V. 14; I Sam., c. vi., v. 1 — 21 ; 2 Sum., c. xxi., 
V. 1^ — 14; and (*en., c. iv., v. 15. 

Persecution. If tliere be one thing more nnjnst or 
more hnuujral than another, it is persecuting a i'cilow 
being, because he may diil'er with you in opinion. To 
invade the precincts of conscience, is a most brutal 
act, and yet Jiow often is it recommend(*d in the Hiblc ! 
In Deut, c. xiii., v. 6 — 9, one of the most diabolical 
commands ever given, is in reference to persecution 
for opimon. We are told, " If thy brother, the son of 
thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife 
of tliy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own 
soni, entice thee, secretly, saying, Let us go and serve 
other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy 
father. Thou shall not consent unto him, nor hearken 
unto him, neither aludt thine eye pilij hiin^ neither 
shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him, but 
thou shalt Ku.L //////, thine hand shall be first upon 
liini to ])ut hhn to death, and afterwards the hand of 
all the people ! ! ! *' Here we are actually commanded 
to MUiiDKK our own sons, irires, and daughters, if they 
\vill not believe as we believe ! 1 tremble with horror. 
Christians ! can you read such a passage, and not 
blush ] Josh., c. xxiv., v. 20, protests, that if the Is- 
raelites dared to worship other gods than were pro- 
posed to them, the Lord would " consume'^ them ! C) ! 
what '' liberty of conscience," what " right of private 
judgment ! " 3Iany horrible passages, highly charac- 
teristic, might be quoted from Deut., c. xvii., v. 2.; 
Exod., c. xxxii., v. 10; 2Chron., c. xxviii., v. G ; c. xv., 
V. 13; Deut., c. xiii., v. 6 — 13; 2 Kings, c. x., v. 29; 
and Deut., c. xvii., v. 12. In the New Testament, 
there are many passages, some of which 1 have read 
when speaking of Christ, Paul, and John, as given in 
Luke, c. xix.j v. 27; Gal., c. i., v. 9; and 2 John, c. 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



195 



i., V. 10. Roe, also, Mark, c. xvi., v. 10: 1 (or., c. 
xvi., V. 22 ; Titus, c. iii., v. 10 ; Acts, c. xiii!, v. S— 1 1 ; 
Cal., c. v., V. J2; Matt., c. xii., v. 30: Acts, c. iii., v. 
23; and Luke, xiv., v. 23. The lollowing passages, 

Matthew, c. x., v. 11, is the essence of intolerance"; 

*'And whosoever," says Christ, '-shall not receive 
yon, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that 
house or city, shake olf the dust of your feet. Verily, 
I say unto you, it shnll be more tolerable for the land 
of Hodoni and Comorrah in the day of judLnnent, than 
for that city ! " How horrihic ! In Acts, c. iii., v. 23, 
we arc told, " and it shall come to j)ass, tliat every 
soul which shall not liear that prophet, shall be de- 
stroyed from among the people." What Christian 
charity ! 

Suiride recommended. In Pro v., c. xxiii., v. 1. 2, 
we read, '• When thou sittest to eat with a rnler, con- 
sider diligently wfiat is before tlice. And pvt a knife 
to thy throat, \{\\\o\\ be a man given to aj)petite." 

Assassination countenanced. In Judges, c. iii., v. 15 
—23, a most revolting story is told of the assassina- 
tion of Kglon, king of .Aloab, by Lhnd, the deliverer 
uf the Israelites; and this "deliverer" we are inform- 
ed, was selected and appointed by the '• Lord " liim- 
self. 1 forbear quoting the passage. In c. iv., v. 21, 
a similar crime is committed by the woman, Jael' 
upon Sisera, the captain of the army of the king of 
( 'anaan. W bile asleep, says the story, she " took a 
nail of the tent, and took a hammer in her hand, and 
went softly unto him, and smote the nail hito his tem- 
ples, and fastened it into the ground ! " 

After this, we are assured "the land of the chil- 
dren of Israel '' prospered ! " 

Murder. This is the most hcinons of crimes, but 
nevertheless it is defended in the Bible. Listen, I en- 
treat yon, to the lollowing astounding passai^e, 2 
Kings, c. X., V. 11—30: ''So Jehu slew all that re- 
mained of the house of Ahab, in Jezreel, and all his 
great men and liis kinsfolks, and his priests, until ho 



i 



4 



<l 



i\ 



I 



196 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



left him none remaining. And the Lord said unto 
Jehu, because tliou hast done well in executmg that 
Avhich is riglit in mine eyes, and hast done unto the 
house of Ahab, accordh.g to all that was in mine 
heart, thy children of the fourth generation sha I sit 
on the throne of Israel ! " A murderer made a king, 
because he was a murderer— because such an act was 
"right." O ! could crime be more aggravated, or de- 
fended more unblushingly ? Aye, even so lorin Jer., 
c xlviii., V. 10, a man is not merely rewarded lor com- 
mitting murder, as in the above instance, but he is 
actuallv cursed if he will not do it. " Cursed be he,' 
says the passage, " that kcepeth back his sword Irom 
blood." O ! wbat humanity ! what morality ! 

1 will here draw a veil over this frightful picture. 
To expose it further, would be painful both to you 
and to me. Unpleasant, indeed, has been my task 
on this occasion. iXevcr was it my misfortune to 
wade through such a mass of crime, obscenity, and 
butchery as I was constrained to do m compiling 
this address. To call a book divine, which contains 
such atrocities, and which countenances and enconr- 
an-cs them too, is to alford an apology for all that is 
iui(iuitous, cruel, and demoralizing, and, were its in- 
iuiictions strictly practised, the world would become 
obscured in moral and intellectual darkness — the 
<^lorious tide of human amelioration would be cor- 
rupted, and everything that was virtuous and good 

would wither and die ! , . , t 

To confirm the statements made in the preceding 
lecture, I beg to supply the reader with a few speci- 
mens of the oljscenit'ies of the Bible. \ or more par- 
ticulars, see "The Holy Scriptures Analysed, pre- 
viously referred to. ^ 
"Mv wounds stink, and are corrupt, because ot 
my foolishness. For my loins are filled with a loath- 
some disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 
My lovers and my friends, stand aloof from my sore, 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



197 



and my kinsmen stand afar off." So says the virtu- 
ous David, Psalms, c. xxxviii., v. 5-11. 

" Thou slialt drink also Avater by measure, the 
sixth part of an Inn; from time to time thou shalt 
drink. And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and 
thou shalt bake it with dung that conieth out of man 
in their sight," Ezek, c. iv., v. 11. 

" So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of 
tlie house, and Absalom went in unto his father's 
concubine in the sight of all Israel," 2 Sam., c. 



XVI., V. 22. 



"And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto iby 
brother's wife, and raise up seed to thy brother. 
And Onan knew that the seed should not be his, 
and it came to pass, when he went in unto his broth- 
er's wife that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he 
sliould give seed unto his brother," (ien., c. xxxviii., 
V. 9. "He moveth his tail like a cedar, the sinews 
of his stones are wrapped together, Job., c. xl., v. 17. 
"But llahshaketh said unto them, hath my master 
sent me to thy master and to thee, to speak these 
words; hath he not sent me to the men which sit on 
the wall, that they may eat their own ***=^ and 
drink their own **=** ? " 2 Kings, c. xviii., v. 27. 

" We have been with child, we have been in pain, 
we have, as it were, brought forth wind," Isa., c. 

xxvi., V. 18. 

"And Ehud put forth his riglit hand, and took 
the dagger from his right side, and thrust it into his 
belly, and die haft also went after the blade and the 
fat closed upon die blade, so diat he could not draw 
the dagger out of his belly, and die dirt came out," 
Judges, c. iii.j v. 21, 22. 

" He that is wounded in the stones, or hadi his 
privy member cut off, shall not enter into the con- 
gregation of the Eord," Ueut, c. xxiii., v. 1. 

"And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon, 
and it shall be when thou wilt ease diyself, diou 

17* 



% 



198 



THE MORALITY OF THE BIBLE. 



shall dig, and cover that which cometh from thee," 
Dent., c. xxiii., v. 13. 

"Then shall his brother's wife come unto him, m 
the presence of the elders, and loose his shoes from ofl' 
his feet, and spit in his face," Dent., c. xxv., v. 9. 

"Then shall the father of the damsel, and her 
mother, take and bring forth the token of the dam- 
sel's virginity, unto the elders of the city in the gate," 
Deut, c. xxii., v. 15. 

" And if any man's seed of copulation go out from 
him, then lie shall wash all his llesh in water, and 
be unclean until the even," Lev., c. xv. v. 16. 

" Neither shall he go into any dead body, nor de- 
file himself for his father or lor his mother," Lev., c. 



xxi., V. 11. 



Can such language (and it is only a sample,) be 
written by inspiration of («od? It is truly monstrous 
that the sons and daughters of a civilized country 
shoidd be trained to revere a book in which such 
bcastiaiities are found. AV lien will the Christian learn 
good-breeding, if not good sense I 



i 



LECTURE ELEVENTH. 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



Ffuends — 

I ANNOUNCED tliat tliis cvcning we should consider 
the P/tUosophy of the Bible. I candidly acknowl- 
edge I apply the term philosophy, in relation to this 
book, derisively. I cannot use it otherwise. 

To talk of the Philosophy of the Bible, in a serious 
tone, and in earnest, would be truly comical. 

Tlie Bible is a book of mysteries, incongruities, 
obscenities, absurdities, and atrocities, but not of 
science and philosophy. For its bulk (and, if that 
be an argument in favor of its divinity, it is rather a 
solid one,) there is no book extant which has less to 
do with the latter kind of questions. Recording and 
detailing all degrees of crimes and vices — butcheries 
and machinations — intrigues and impostures — is the 
forte of the Bible. In that it quite excels ; but when 
it attempts the scientific, the philosophic, or the ra- 
tional, it seems like a fish out of water — quite away 
from its natural element. Some theologians in the 
plenitude of their simplicity have ventured to boast 
of the learning of the Bible, and pompously pro- 
nounced it to be the most "learned" book in the 
world. If it be, I apprehend it is only in the sense 
in which some of our ])rofessors are learned — "learn- 
edly ignorant.*" However, if it can justly claim so 
distinguished an appellation, then the works of Jack 



200 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



and the Giant Killer, Tom Thumb, Mother Bunch, 
The Seven Champions of . Christendom, Cinderella 
and the Glass Slipper, Baron Munchausen, Little Red 
Riding Hood, Babes in the Woods, and other nursery- 
stories, may take their place among the scientific pro- 
ductions of the age, and the writings of a Lawrence, 
an Arago, and a Herschell may be put upon the shelf 
as fit only to amuse infants; for certainly, the stories 
of Jacob's Ladder, Baalam and his Ass, Joshua and 
the Sun, Elijah and his Journey to Heaven, Lot's 
Wife and the Pillar of Salt, Aaron and his Rod, 
Samson and his Jaw-bone of an Ass, David and his 
Achievements upon the " light fantastic toe," and 
Jonah and the Fish, are much more learned pro- 
ductions than any detailed in the works here enume- 
rated, and exhibit, I doubt not, a more intimate ac- 
quaintance with the scientific and the philosophical ! 

Of course, the Bible being the most learned book in 
our literature, those individuals, who are alleged to 
have written it, must have been very learned men. 
There is no doubt of it. Moses, for instance, who is 
the first erudite author of the Bible, was such a very 
enlightened man that he thought nothing of com- 
manding a few thousands of men, women, and chil- 
dren to be massacred in cold blood; and, so modest 
was he in his enlightenment, that he even conde- 
scended to murder a fellow being with his own hand. 
Joshua, the next writer in the Bible, was a man 
of such extraordinary attainments, especially in the 
science of astronomy^ that he even commanded the 
sun to stand still, when it did stand still. Samuel, 
another inspired author, was a man of such science, 
more particularly in practical anatomy^ that we are 
told he " hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord in 
Gilgal," in the most skilful style. David, another 
Bible author, so grave and rigid a philosopher was 
he, that we read of his '• dancing before the Lord 
with all his might." Solomon's wisdom was so 
transcendental, that we are informed, he maintained 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



201 



a retinue of seven hundred wives and three hundred 
concubines, and at last, declared, as a proof of the 
advantages of philosophy^ that all was " vanity." 
Daniel, another very distinguished writer, was so well 
acquainted with natural history^ that he could live 
among lions, with as much impunity, as we do 
among butterflies. Jonah, who was also an inspired 
penman, and a prophet to boot, was so thoroughly 
familiar with the rationale of animal physiology^ that 
he could get down a fish's throat, with as much ease 
and safety, as an animacule would down that of 
our own. Paul, the leading author of the doctrinal 
portion of the New Testament, had such a great 
thirst for knowledge, that he exclaims, ''if a man be 
ignorant, let him be ignorant," and so intense an 
anxiety for the progress of science and philosophy 
generally, that he wisely remarks, "Beware, lest any 
man spoil you through philosophy.'''^ 

There is no question all these eminent authors are 
very "learned" men, and great promoters of the 
" arts and sciences." The world is highly indebted 
to them in that respect ! 

But, my friends, lest any one may imagine that I 
intend on this occasion to indulge merely in sarcastic 
ridicule, or idle banter, we will endeavor to be some- 
what serious upon this subject. We will ask, then, 
where is the learning of the Bible 7 Vs here tlie use- 
ful scientific principles it has elaborated and estab- 
lished ? Where the great truths of philosophy, which 
it may have developed and demonstrated ] What 
little, indeed, is advanced upon these questions, in- 
volves errors and absurdities, which modern science 
has completely exploded. I am not aware that there 
is any other volume in existence, in which more 
blunders could be detected than in the Bible, and to 
designate its authors inspired and infallible^ is to re- 
verse our ideas of truth and falsehood, fallibility and 
infallibility. It shall be our province on the present 
occasion to expose a few of these blunders, and to 



iii 



i 



902 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



show how Utterly unworthy is the Bible of being 
esteemed a learned or philosophical production. 

We will "begin with the beginning'' — The Crea- 
tion of the World. 

Christians maintain that according to the Philoso- 
phy of the Bible, this event transpired only some 
6()00 years ago. There are, however, a multitude of 
circumstances, which tend to invalidate that position. 
I cannot pretend, in one brief address, to comment 
upon them all. I shall be under the necessity of 
cursorily reviewing a few only of the more remarka- 
ble. First, then, of the records of other nations. 
The Old Testament, you are aware, is put forth as 
the record of the Jetas^ and it is upon this record, 
that the Christian world base their cosmogony. Now, 
if the records of one nation are competent authority 
upon the (juestion at issue, the records of another are 
equally legitimate. We have just as much right to 
believe them as the Jews: nay, more, for the Jews 
were the most ignorant and barbarous of all the great 
nations of antitputy, and, therefore, the least likely 
to be familiar with the subject before us. The Chi- 
nese, than whom few of the ancient empires of the 
world were more enlightened or civilized, have a 
collection of books, consisting of 150 volumes, called 
the " Great Annals," which pretend to give a history 
from the creation of the world, comprising a period 
of above 49,000 years, after which thirty-five im- 
perial families reigned successively for ages^ without 
any interruption. Some writers have ventured to 
doubt the authenticity of these productions, but upon 
much less reasonable ground than we may doubt the 
authenticity of the Jewish annals. Certain we are, 
that the Chinese invented a cycle or computation of 
time which begins two thousand six hundred years 
before ours. 

Sir R. Phillips informs us, in his '' Million of 
Facts," that the Hindoo priesthood (and their testi- 
mony is as good as the Jewish priesthajd,) " claims 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



203 



!' 



a theological time of nearly tico thousand millions 
of years since the beginning, and they state that 
Brahma — the Hindoo God — was seventeen millions 
of years creating^ He further remarks, "The Hin- 
doos begin the creation as a mere astronoinical epoch, 
when all the planets were in Aries, or nearly two 
millions of years since, and, taking in the nodes and 
apsides, they extend it to four thousand three hun- 
dred and twenty millions^ which they call a Calplia, 
or day of Brahma." 
. Pomponius Mela, the great Egyptian historian, in- 
forms us that tlie Egyptians in their annals, reckoned 
three hundred and thirty kings extending through 
a period of thirteen thousand years, and Herodotus 
gives a statement of the Egyptians, which carries 
the antiquity of the world still further. Herodotus 
states that the reign of their kings extended through 
a period of seventeen thousand years. Sir R. Phil- 
lips observes that " the Egyptians reckoned fourteen 
thousand years to the age of their original Vulcan, 
and ten thousand years before Menas and Sethen." 
Sir Richard, indeed, expressly declares, that " the 
Chinese, Japanese, Hindoos and Chaldeans claim an 
infinite antiquity." So also did the Greek schools 
more than two thousand five hundred years ago. 
Plato, who wrote tivo thousand two hundred years 
since, states that the great island of Atalantis, filled 
with cities, &>c., was absorbed by the ocean nine 
thousand years before his time. Calisthcnes, a Gre- 
cian philosopher of high renown, says he was told 
by Berosus, the historian of Babylon, who was in 
that city when Alexander visited it, that four hun- 
dred and tivo thousand years before his time " the axis 
of the earth was parallel to the plane of the ecliptic." 
But, we will take our stand on higher ground than 
records and traditions. We will base our objections 
to the Bible cosmogony, upon something more palpa- 
ble and demonstrable than the pretensions of priests. 
We will take our arguments from the incontestable 
evidences of science. 



204 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



The discoveries effected during this last century in 
geology, chemistry, and astronomy, prove most un- 
answerably, not only that the creation did not take 
place at so comparatively recent a period, but thai 
there never could have been such a creation at all, as 
the one detailed in the writings attributed to Moses; 
that, in fact, such a thing as absolute creation or ab- 
solute destruction is an impossibility and an absurdi- 
ty. The fundamental principles of geological scieuce, 
as developed by Lyell, Mantell, Phillips, and others, 
show, that this globe, so far from being only some 
six thousand years old, is of incalculable antiquity. 
It must have taken millions of years to have accom- 
plished the various changes which the earth has 
undergone. Sir R. Phillips remarks, " thousands of 
years must have elapsed between each of the numer- 
ous formations which it discovers." " Geology, then," 
says Dr. Mantell, in his Wonders of Geology, " does 
not affect to disclose the first creation of animated 
nature ; it does not venture to assume that we have 
evidence of a BEGINiVING, but it unfolds to us a 
succession of events, each so vast as to be beyond 
our finite comprehension." An idea may be formed 
of the time required to bring about the various revo- 
lutions which have occurred in the strata of the 
earth, from the fact that the sea shoals but about an 
inch in a century. 

The science of chemistry teaches that there is not 
a single atom of matter which can be either created 
or destroyed; that it can only experience a change, 
and that the whole substance of the universe is con- 
tinually and gradually undergoing composition, de- 
composition, and re-composition, and diat, therefore, 
the idea of the world having been created — created 
out of nothing, too, as taught in the Bible, is absurd 
and impossible. We are told, in this learned book, 
that the universe was at one time "without form 
and void," or, in other words, a non-entity, for that 
which is " without form and void," must necessarily 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



205 



be non-existent. Science, however, has utterly ex- 
ploded such a preposterous notion. Chemistry has 
triumphantly established the indestructibility and 
consequent eternity of matter. An able American 
author observes, "The eternal duration of the earth 
in some form or other is rendered certain, by the 
essential properties of matter; whatever does cxist^ 
must have existed from all eternity, and from its 
very nature, continue to exist forever." Sir John 
Herschell, unquestionably the greatest natural phi- 
losopher of the age, in his Discourses on ^Natural Phi- 
losophy, has most beautifully, and clearly, demon- 
strated the fundamental truth of chemical science. 
He says, "The researches of chemists have shown 
that what the vulgar call corruption, destruction, &x;., 
is nothing but a change of arrangement of the same 
ingredient elcincnts — the disposition of the same ma- 
terials into other forms, without the loss or actual de- 
struct io?i of a single atom, and thus any doubts on 
the permanence of the natural la\vs are discounten- 
anced, and the whole weight of appearances thrown 
into the opposite scale." Sir John continues, "One 
of the most obvious cases of apparent destruction, is, 
when anything is ground to dust and scattered, as 
they may be, they must fall somewhere and continue, 
if only as ingredients of the soil, to perform their 
humble, but useful part in the economy of nature. 
The destruction produced by fire is more striking in 
many cases, as in the burning of a piece of charcoal 
or a taper, there is no smoke, nothing visibly dissi- 
pated or carried away, tlie burning body wastes and 
disappears, while nothing seems to be produced but 
warmth and light, which we are not in the habit of 
considering as substances ; and, when all has disap- 
peared, except, perhaps, some trifling ashes, we natu- 
rally enough suppose that it is gone, lost, destroyed. 
But, when the question is examined more exactly, 
we detect in the invisible stream of heated air, which 
ascends from the glowing coal or heated wax, the 

18 



E 



206 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



Avhole ponderable matter only united in a new com- 
bination with tlie air, and dissolved in it. Yet, so 
far iVom being thereby destroyed, it is only become 
again what it was before it existed in the form of 
charcoal or wax, an active agent in the business of 
the world, and a main snpport of animal and vegeta- 
ble life, and is still susceptible of running again and 
again the same round, as circumstances may deter- 
mine, so that, for aught we can see to the contrary, 
the same identical atom may lay concealed for thous- 
ands of centuries in a limestone rock — may, at length, 
be quarried, set free in the lime kiln, mix with^tho 
air, be absorbed from it by plants, and, in succession, 
becomes a part of the frames of myriads of living 
beings, till some occurrence of events consigns it once 
more to a long repose, which, however, no way unfits 
it for again resuming its former activity." 

The science of astronomy alfords the most indubi- 
table evidence against the Mosaic Cosmogony. This 
science propounds that the solar system, said to have 
been manufactured on the fourth day of the Bible 
creation, has existed for a period extending infinitely 
beyond the calculation, or even conception of man. 

Its formation too, so far from being instantaneous, 
as stated in Genesis, must have been imperceptibly 
slow and gradual. Dr. Nicholl, one of the leading 
astronomers of the day, in his "Phenomena of the 
►Solar System" remarks, that "astronomy explains 
that the solar system once existed, as a difi'used nebu- 
losity, which, passing through various states of con- 
densation, formed a central luminary, and its attend- 
ant planets." Sir John Ilerschell has discovered that 
the various constellations are surrounded by nebulous 
stars in various stages of progress, from thin, shape- 
less, masses of highly transparent matter, to stars 
almost opaque. From these evidences he infers that 
all the stars have gone through this progress, growing 
more opaque as they become older; and, that, at last, 
Iiaving attained a certain opacity, they will decay, 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



207 



and slowly and gradually be resolved into chaotic 
matter, similar to the former state, when they will 
again, in the same slow and gradual maimer, assume 
a planetary being. These facts, T hold, resting upon 
such high authority, completely deinohsh the philoso- 
phy of the Bible. 

Again : According to the Genesis creation, we 
must believe that this earth is the principal body in 
the universe — that the sun, moon, and stars, were 
just hung up in space as a chandelier, to throw 
light upon the inhabitants of this contemptible speck. 
Now, astronomy elucidates, that this earth is second- 
ary to, and dependent vpon the snn, and tiiat Jupiter, 
Saturn, and Uranus, are much more powerful planets 
than our own — Jupiter being eleven times larger, Sa- 
turn ten, and Uranus four and a half 

As to the stars, of which the Bible story speaks so 
contem.ptuously, as if they were only so many tiny 
rushlights to direct us during the night, astronomy 
shows that they are themselves suns — centres of 
other systems — luminaries of other worlds. 

In this learned book we detect similar blunders con- 
nected with the creation, but time will not admit of 
my alluding to them all. I may just observe, that we 
arc informed the Lord divided light from darkness, 
three days before there could be any light, if the sci- 
ences of optics and astronomy are to be accredited. — ■ 
It is said that the sun, from which our light proceeds, 
was not created until the fourth day, yet the liOrd 
divided light from the darkness on the ^/'5^ day. This, 
at once, proves the utter ignorance of the Bible editors 
of science or philosophy. But the idea of dividing 
light from darkness, adds still further to the absurdity. 
They cannot be divided, as darkness is only the />»/•/- 
ration of light. Again : Astronomy teaches that it 
is by the sun and moon we measure time — days, 
months, years, &c. ; and yet, as above stated, there 
were three days before either of these celestial bodies 
were created ! 



I 



208 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



A most learyicd book this, indeed ! We are also in- 
formed, that on the second day the Lord divided the 
mucerse into two parts, the " firmament," and that 
this above partition was called heaven, and beneath, 
earth. Astronomy, liowever, has also upset this ab- 
surdity. That science demonstrates that there can be 
no such partition dividing space, but the universe is 
an endless series of worlds, all revolving in their re- 
spective spheres; and that such a thing as absolute 
above and below, as applied to the universe, is a mere 
illusion. 

But is it not a strange circumstance, that the Bible 
(»od should require y/6e days to manufacture a small 
speck hke our globe, and then create mdlions of other 
worlds, each of thcniso immeasurably larger than onr 
own, and all in one day ? This fact alone shows the 
utter absurdity of the Bible story. Some individuals 
the most distinguished of whom is Dr. Buckland, see- 
ing the utter inconsistency of modern science with the 
Mosaic account of the creation, have endeavored to 
give a different interpretation to that silly story, than 
the one hitherto promulgated. 

They say, a day in the creation was not one of our 
days, but a period involving thousands of years. 

My friends, such gross perversion of language as 
t^iis interpretation implies, is only worthy of a priest 
J\ot only docs the language itself not admit of such 
mterpretation, but other collateral circumstances con- 
nected with the Bible, conclusively proves its utter ah- 
surdity. The Jews themselves, from whom the book 
emanates, evidently used the word in the ordinary 
sense ; hence, their institution of the Sabbath. The 
Lord says, they rested on the seventh day ; therefore 
we ought to rest on that day. He kept it holy, there- 
lore we must. If, however, the Jewish and Christian 
world, up to the present period, have been in error 
upon this subject— if it be a fact that the institution 
ot the Sabbath is based upon an illusion, then our 
houses of God'' may be closed not only on the sixth 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



209 



u 



but on the seventh day of the week, and " the gentle- 
men of the cloth" may earn their ''bread" by the 
" sweat of their brow." O ! what an awkward mis- 
take. Dr. Buckland ! How unfortunate that you did 
not discover in the depth of your sagacity, that if the 
Christian world Avere to become Bucklaudites, and 
act consistently with their "philosopliy," that, like 
Othello, your "occupation would be gone ! " To clear 
yourself from one dilemma, 3^011 have fallen into an- 
other infinitely worse. What does the pious Sir An- 
drew Agnew say upon this pohit ? His labors will be 
superseded if you speak the truth. In respect to the 
learned story of the creation and fall of man, I deem 
it almost too contemptible to refer to. The idea of 
tnan having been made out of the dust of the ground, 
rolled together like a snow-ball, and then inllatcd with 
the breath of life, as Mr. Green would inflate his bal- 
loon — and of women being subsequently manufac- 
tured out of one of the man's rihs, is fit only for an 
age of barbarism. The individual who could ac- 
knowledge a story so exquisitely ridiculous, must be 
endowed v/ith a most inordinate relish for the " mar- 
vellous." He Avould believe that the moon was made 
of green cheese, if the Bible only §aid so. 

A question, however, arises out of this tale, which is 
of some moment. Its consideration will enable me to 
show the ignorance of the Bible writers upon two 
otiier leading sciences, physiology and comparative 
anatomy. According to this account, we ought to be- 
lieve that the whole of the human species originated 
from Adam and Eve. Science, however, commands 
us to believe otherwise. It has been discovered, 
through the observations and researches of Bulfon, 
Blumenbach, Cuvier, Fleuren, and other physiologists 
and naturalists, that the human species are divided 
into different races, which Blumenbach classifies as fol- 
lows : — The Caucassian, Mongolian, Ethiopic, Ameri- 
can, and Malay varieties. M. Fleuren, a most dis- 
tingnished naturalist, maintahis that the difference of 

18* 



% 



210 



THE PHIIiOSOPHY OF THE BinLE. 



Structure between the white and colored races, is sufTi- 
cient to prove that they arc of dillereiit stocks, or, as 
he expresses it, of *' essentially distinct races.'* Tliis 
diirerence lies principally in the structure of the skin, 
which he shows is not the same in the white as in 
the colored man. In the case of Europeans, tinged 
by exposure to the sun's rays, the mucous web is 
Avhat is affected, becoming, as it were, slightly color- 
ed. No degree of exposure can, he thinks, confer the 
coloring layers of the Negro and other dark races.— 
lie remarks, that the ''African Moors who have lived 
beside the Megroes for centuries, have never acquired 
the coloring apparatus of that race; and it has been 
observed by travellers, (( aptain I. yon among others,) 
that the Isuricks, a race of African Caucassians. of a 
dark brown complexion, are nearly a.s while on il>esc 
r«rl3f cil iJMiir Inxlics covered up fr<»rii the bun, ji$ nic»icl 
i'.uri>i)opn8. h js u\^ well kiiouij, thai the i»r<iK4'ny 
ol 4-in JviiDJi^win, lK>w<!verimidi he inreJii have !»c€ii 
lnii?cd by tho 8tin, i.^ invariably, as ulnco 115 he him- 
scll WM al drsL TIh! bLirk ruce« are locaJi^jed in llio 
waniiesl r. sof Uu^ aIol.>, a,„l their t.kiii mul ceti©. 
lal con.siituiiu;i, secni a<b|HetJ for tlwir allotnieiil. A 
Wack man can Iw nakiMl, ex|)o»ftl to llio hottest sim 
without iti uhil<! Urn skill of Uwj while nuiii, i} 

^\]HjiA'A\ \u .>uujiar lioM, breaks out in bli.stcrs. Ilic 
black man can lal«r snider a biiriiiiii: sin with impu- 
nity, but the white man .^ink8 under i^xorlion mode in 
Mich circimwtiinci.-*.'^ Krom these and umny o4lier 
fiicls, u Iiieh I luivc not time to enumerate, M VUuun 
uiforsi that then* w acofi.Ntiiiuioiiai and di»linri dUi<>rw 
Clioc Urtv.'oeii tho various uiccs of iJteiiikiiHi, uliieh 
proyo Hint they niij.sthave ori;?inallv«irnnc from pcT- 
kclly M^IKirare .stock*; mid if i.j, tlio story o{ A<Lru 
ami r .ve being jlio jxnrent of the human race, i» hkc 
he rest oT the Hil4i! phik^phy — ixmsense. Cham. 
bcT^iA^rvcs, uiHHi ihw Miljoci: '-In fom>er tin»e«, 
nfira, only two varielics, tf,« whii,> and iIhj blaek, 
nero rccuLin^cxl or llionghl oT, it wa« ajp^Kit^sl that 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF TBB MBLK. 



211 



I 



complexion was simply a re«iiU of the actions oT the 
sun's rays. This idea would iialurv^lly ari:^> ffotn its 
being observed that exposiirx* to the suiij darkoiiod a 
white person, while seclusion tended to 14ench or 
whiten him, and that die black n-ftli«)«i8 wore c1 
those who occupied tropica! coimtricu, winio ihc whiter 
Avere placed in the temperate zotic. The (.; wl«> 

never doubted that they were the j>erfociioii aiKi stand- 
ard of human nature, and who«;iiterlained cx:is(s?era!ci:l 
notions of the heat of the Afritv^n .<im, won^ strongly 
impressed with the idea, that the Ni.l'dj iiatkxid liad 
been originally white, am! bad Ihh!ii ehafit^?d into 
black by the action of tho ^ilar r ' ' > notiiwi 

continued to be set forward, imdn . bv natural- 

ists, down to the time of nnllon. and jk ^Illl the I 

of tiio isnorunt in most comiirJeK.*' 

Ill tiie 34ory of the fall of man. it is 8iatc<l tluit tltie 
8i.T^»ent WU8 aillictod with the curse o^ : u\)nn 

lis Ixilly. TJiitt evinces iho gfoisse^l )giw>rancc of the 
nature of that nnforttinatt! re]ittle. It is € ily 

cuuslrtieitAl by natna\ 50 as to move in tlint ])os4ti(m, 
ami Co call il a €UR40 to make i( co in that mamt«r, 
18 a mixiiomor. But, pray, if il did not always ^p 011 
ilK Ix'lly, how miuht it exert loromutioii. l)cforc it in- 
ciirrinl 1I115 **divnio disvpleaMire ?*' I'lxin its head or 
its tail ? 'I'fiily, iIhtc mu^^t have boon some natural 
ciiriociitios in the antirleliiviaii world ! 

1 mntil now reiiutik upon tho next evkloiKe of the. 
great k^iniiti^ o^ llw* Bible — //a^ /><//•• My ob&er- 

Vatiotis mn^< noeoJsmrily Ixj brtel*. a* I have other 
matters to e« r cro I retire In (Genesis, e. vi., 

and vii., vre reiul that a few tlionsaiMl years ago, 
tllOfC was a tmiv^rsid tieln^c, erery hvmg ihinsj'. ex- 
cept N<Kili ami lib family, and a pair of each race of 
aninuited cxisteiicx^: they biMUg .%ave<l in a woo*]- 1 
box> •, I an ark% wliicli flncitcd U|»o«i tho wat* t . 
zuid which were s»:» ileep, tlwit they <!over<Ml the ftiq^fi- 
CM nMHintaiiis. This abMird story i.-s inconsi.sieiii in 
the ^ift% place with tiiu fumlameiual pr 'cs of 






212 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIRLE. 



natural pliilosophy. According to the law of ilukh 
it would liuvc been physically impossible for rhe 
7phoh globe to be inundated at one and the smnc time 
Such an idea, indeed, exhibits little acquaintance 
with the principles of attraction and gravitation. But 
it tins could occur, we learn Iroin the ])hilosophy of 
the tides, that through the iuiluence of the moon 
npon the surface of this planet, there is a continued 
ebbing and flowing of the ocean, to the extent of 
twelve or fifteen feet every twelve hours. Now, if 
the whole earth was under water, and to the depth 
of the highest mouutaiiis, the agitation of that im- 
mense ocean nuist be so tremendous, that it would be 
impossible for any body to flout upon its surface. 
Everything would be ensrulphed in the foaming bil- 
lows. Nothing could resist it. l^ie ark, had it been 
a thousand times the size, would have been dashed 
to pieces, and its inmates annihilated. 

Ikit, where was the immense supi)ly of water to 
come from necessary to deluge the world, and to 
''cover the highest mountains?" The Andes are 
stated to be 2U,000 feet above the level of the sea, 
and it has been calculated, that the weight of the 
atmosphere, with all its vapors, is ecpial to no more, 
than a hollow sphere of about thirty feet of thiclcness, 
environing the whole globe ; and, conseqnently, the 
whole ol its contents, if condensed into water, could 
not deluge the earth to the height of an ordinary 
house. 

Let us now speak of the Ark itself. According to 
the Jiible description, it was only 300 cubits long^, or 
about 525 feet; 50 cubits, or 87 1-2 feet broad- and 
30 cubits, or 52 1-2 feet high. It is manifest that a 
vessel, ol such limited dimensions, could not contain 
a thousandth part of what must have been stowed 
mto It to include Noah and his children, and a male 
and female of all living things, together with the food 
necessary to serve them for so long a period as five 
months. The writer of this marvellous story, ex- 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIRLE. 



213 



hibits the deepest ignorance of the sciences of orni- 
thology, entymology, natural history, chemistry, phy- 
siology, zoology, and natural philosophy, lie could 
not have known that there are some millions of 
species of birds, beasts, and insects; and, as to the 
fishes, how could they be "drowned?" How could 
a "deluge" destroy them? A universal Hood, in- 
stead of being a curse to that part of " living beings," 
would be a " god- send " — a universal feast. O! 
what sport for the sharks and the dolphins ! 

This learned writer was not aware that it would 
have been quite impossible for such an immense 
numl)er of animals to exist for so long a period, with- 
out light or fresh air. We are told there was only 
one Avindow to the Ark, and that was shut for the 
whole of the 150 days. He must have been ignorant, 
too, of another physiological fact — that dillerent de- 
grees of temperature were necessary to supjxjrt the 
various animals for any time. The climate which 
would suit one, would destroy another. But there is 
no mention of such an indispensable provision. 

The fact is, the whole of this story, from the begin- 
ning to the end, is only a tissue of the most barbarous 
ignorance and stupidity. 

Christians, themselves, are growing ashamed of it. 
Dr. Pyc Smith, one of the most intelligent divines of 
the present day, admits, that " the Hood could not be 
universal," nor could it have " resulted in the de- 
struction of all animal life;" and, he further remarks, 
"connecting the question with physical causes, it 
appeared to him that unless we resorted to miracu- 
lous agency (against the gratuitous assumption of 
which he protested, as both unphilosophical and pre- 
sumptuous) it was impossible to imagine the Ark 
capable of containing parts of all the animals whose 
existence must entirely depend on their exemption 
from inundation." 

The learned doctor then proceeds to detail the 
great variety of species in tlie animal creation, and 



I 



I 



214 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



to show the impossibility of stowing away in a wood- 
en box, such an immense number ot' living beings. 

Dr. Burnet, in the Archeologia3 Philosophije,^c. iv., 
p. 40, says that the quantity of water it would take 
to cover the tops of the liighest mountains, as stated 
in this story, "must at least exceed the magnitude 
of eight oceans." He further admits, "so great a 
quantity of water can no where be found, though we 
exhaust all the treasures of water in heaven or earth, 
and add besides the subterraneous water,*" and that, 
"howsoever, or from what place soever, tbis prodi- 
gious mass of water was brought upon the eartb, 
there cfyuld be no ineans of rcmocing if, or any possi- 
ble method found out of taking away such a mighty 
heap of water." From these premises the learned 
Doctor concludes, " that our present earth was not 
subject to a deluge, nor is it capable of it by its shape 
or elevation." 

The discoveries, however, of modern geologists, set 
the question of a universal deluge completely at rest. 
They incontrovertibly prove that the cbanges of the 
eartii's surface have not been produced by a general 
flood, but by the ffradual operation of iirt/er and /tcfi/. 
The marine shells found on tlie tops of mountains, 
and other elevated situations, liave been forced there 
by igneous agency, and are not, as conjectured by 
theologians, the remains of Noah's tlood. Time will 
not admit of my giving you any flicts from tliat in- 
teresting science. I must leave the subject, by quot- 
ing the following words from the poet Coleridge. " I 
think it absurd," says he, in his "Table Talk," "to 
attribute so much to the deluge. An inundation, 
which left an olive-tree standing, and bore up tbe 
Ark peacefully on its bosom, could scarcely bave 
been the sole cause of the rents and dislocations ob- 
servable on the face of the earth." 

ANe have reviewed that portion of this /earned 
book which contains the cream of its "philosophy." 
There are numerous other passages, however, which 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



215 



display the same lack of scientific information. I 
will refer you to a few of them, hi 1 Kings, c. viii., 
v. 35, we read of "heaven being shut up, ' in order 
that there should be no rain. From this, and many 
similar passages, it is clear that the learned men who 
composed that eminently scientific production were 
perfectly unacquainted with the fact, that rain was 
produced by evaporation and condensation, but im- 
agined that it came from some place above, the bot- 
tom of which, I suppose, was like a huge watering 
can, and whenever it suited the "Lord" he sprinkled 
us with a refreshing shower as a gardener would his 
flowers. 

In (jen., c. i., v. 12, it is said, "Let the earth bring 
forth grass." 6ic. Now it would, at least, have been 
a little more rational, as well as " philosophical," to 
have made the earth produce " grass" after the crea- 
tion of the sun instead of before it. In (<en., c. ix., 
V. 12, 13, we read, that the Lord, for the first time, 
hung a rainbow in the clouds as a sign of his cove- 
nant with the people after the deluge. The science 
of optics proves that the rainbow is but a natural 
phenomenon. It is merely the result of the refrangi- 
bility and refiexibility of the rays of light. It could 
not have been the first time a rainbow was produced, 
for so long as light and vapor existed such a phenome- 
non must have been produced. Either, therefore, this 
story is false, or else prior to the deluge there could 
have been no li<r/tt or no vapor — in either of which 
cases, animal life would have been impossible. 

In Genesis, c. xi., we are told of the building of the 
Tower of Babel^ and the confusion of tongues. The 
Bible chronology places the building of this tower only 
115 years after the destruction of mankind by the 
flood, and even rchile Noah ivas yet alive. How can 
these two stories be reconciled ? It is said that there 
were only Noah and his family who survived the 
deluge. Could they have multiplied so rapidly, in 
that short time, as to populate a city^ and erect such 



\\ 



216 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



an enormous tower ! It would liave required an im- 
mense nnmber of persons, with great scientific know- 
ledge, (the result of long research,) to raise so lofty a 
pile. Its height was estimated at 81,000 feet, and it 
had a road-way on its outside, which went eight times 
around its ascent, so as to give the whole the appear- 
ance of eight towers one above another. It is per- 
fectly ridiculous to suppose that such a prodigious 
Avork could have been entered upon, much less carried 
forward to the extent stated, at so early a date after 
the period we are told that there was only one family 
of human beings in existence ! Such a story is only 
worthy of the Bible. The greatest absurdity, how- 
ever, is in suj)posing that God should be afraid that 
the people would accornplish, their design of building 
a tower whose top should reach heaven I Pray, to 
what point in the heavens did the builders of this tower 
intend going? and how did they purpose to reach 
there? If to the moon, as that is the nearest object in 
the heavens, it vvoidd have taken a builder, going at 
the rate of four miles an hour, night and day, without 
either sli^ep or refreshment, seven years to reach the 
destined p!)iut, with one single load of building mate- 
rials ! If to the sun, at the same rate, it would take 
Inm 3,000 years to carry one load of lime. But if they 
were ambitious of going to {\\g first fixed star, it would 
have taken, at that rate, 48 millions of years to reach 
it ! ! Why, if they had made the foundation ol Babel 
one fourth of a square mile in circumference, and 
made all the earth into bricks and lime, they would 
have been little more than Jialf way io ihc first fixed 
star, and tlie ite.vt fixed star is supposed to be as far 
behind the first as the first is from the earth ! But 
sup])ose all these dilUculties surmounted, a new one 
would arise, when the builders approached so near the 
heavenly bodies as to leel more forcibly, than from the 
earth, the power of attraction. In this case, men, 
bricks, and mortar, with all their tools, and other ma- 
terials, would ily olT in a direct line to the moon, and 



i 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



217 






for ever prevent the completion of this wonderful pro- 
ject ! The folly and impossibility of the thing stamp 
the whole story with a character which ought to make 
Christians ashamed of calling such nonsense the word 
of an "intelligent God." 

The enlightened editors of this divine story must 
have known little of moral philosophy. To read the 
Bible, it would appear that the hcai't was the scat of 
volition and sensation. Esdras says, c. xiv., v. 40, 
" my heart uttered understanding.'' Innumerable odier 
passages might be quoted. The discoveries, hovv^ever, 
of Lawrence and Gall, in the sciences of Anatomy, 
Physiology, and Phrenology, establish that the brain 
is the seat of thought and sensation. None of the great 
naturalists of the last 100 years, Cuvier, Blumenbach, 
or Butlbn, have taught such a notion as the one pro- 
pounded in the Bible. It is deemed too absurd to 
notice. 

In Genesis, c. vi., v. 4, wo are informed that there 
were " giants in the earth in those days." Modern 
science has completely exploded that absurdity also. 

The " philosophers" of die Bible dilfer very mate- 
rially with the philosophers of this age, upon that 
most important of all sciences — Education. We are 
t)ld, in Prov., c. x, v. 13, that a "/W is for the back of 
hun that is void of understanding.^'' It has been dis- 
covered, however, by Pestalozzi and other enlightened 
educationalists, that to follow the Bible philosophy 
would not only be inhuman but impolitic, and that 
mild and -persuasive means are to be preferred to co- 
ercion or punishment. It is none but bigots who 
know nothing of the science of education, who resort 
to that absurd and severe treatment. 

I sliall here speak of that fatal absurdity. Witch- 
craft. In Exodus, c. xxii., v. IS, it is enjoined, "Thou 
shalt not sufier a witch to live," and in 1 Samuel, c. 
xxiii, V. 7, we read of that savage and cunning priest 
consulting the Witch of Endor. My friends, if there 
be one thing more than another which exposes the ig- 

19 



218 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



norriiice of the Bible writers, it is the institution of the 
law prohil)iting witchcraft. There never was such a ' 
thiuL^ as a witch, no more than there have been ghosts 
or hohgobhns. All enlightened men now rcpndiate 
the idea as a mere imposition. Even the "vulgar'' 
begin to laugh at it. Well had it been for mankind, 
if the delusion had ended in mere belief, but unfortu- 
nately, in consequence of the foolish and brutal in- 
junction just read, thousands of our fellow behigs have 
been murdered — murdered too, under the most humili- 
ating and revolting circumstances. The follies and 
cruelties, indeed, connnitted through the inllucnce of 
such writers as the Bible authors, are incalculable, 
and never will humanity become enlightened and 
good until the productions of such men are perma- 
nently and absoliUely discarded. 

It would be a pity to omit noticing the precious tale 
of Jonah and the whale, in this list of '• inspired " ab- 
surdities. It is such a glorious specimen of the leaini- 
ing of the Bible, that it ought to receive honorable 
mention, and especially when we remember that the 
hero of the story was a jn-ophct. In .Jonah, c. i., v. 17, 
we are informed that this pro})het-monger met with a 
singular misfortune. The account states that "the 
Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up .lonah, 
and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and 
three nights." This fish, Christ tells us, in Matt., c. 
xii., V. 40, (and I presume he will be a com])eient ixn- 
thority,) was a W«f/e .' Why this fish should have 
been selected more than any other for the domicile of 
the prophet, 1 know not, except it be, that because the 
whale is the largest fish, it was presumed that it 
would have the largest throaty and consequently tlie 
most convenient of access. Unluckily, however, 
modern anatomists have discovered, that though the 
animal is enormously large, its throat is exceedingly 
small — so small that it is not an inch and a half in 
diameter! How, therefore, the prophet Jonah, who 
might, probably, have been like some of our modern 
country rectors, of tolerable plumpness and rotundity, 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



219 



succeeded in making his way through such a capa- 
cious aperture, would require a miracle to explain, 
and how he managed to live for three days in the 
whale's belly, when he did got in, would require a 
still greater miracle to elucidate! It is evident, that 
the author of this story labored under the vulgar mis- 
take that the gullet of the whale would be commen- 
surate with its general bulk — a mistake quite natural 
to a Bible editor. 

Having proceeded thus far with our observations, 
we must draw to a close. Had time allowed, I should 
have been ha})py to have amused you with a critique 
upon the stories of Joshua and the Sun — ]']zckiel and 
his dinner — there being no rain on the earth for three 
years and sia; months — stars falling from heaven — 
Christ and the fig-tree — and his visit with his "Sa- 
tanic majesty " to the top of the mountain, whence he 
saw all the kingdoms of the world, which the science 
of astronomy sliows, from the spherical form of the 
earth, to be impossible — Kzokiel and his being lifted 
up by a lock (f his hair into the midst of the heavens 
— the angel receiving wages for his advice to the man 
Tobias — the ass and the lion talking with the ^^ man's 
voice" — the "glorious times" mentiuned in l^lxodus, 
wlu^n the Lord " rained bread from heaven," and 
ma.uy other l^iblical wonders. I will give you, how- 
ever, one more specimen ere I conclude. It is Ezckiel's 
visit to the valley of bones. Tljat learned prophet 
says, c. xxxvii., v. 1 — 10, " The hand of the liord was 
upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, 
and set me down in the midst of the vallev\ which 
was full of bones, and caused me to pass by tliem 
roundabout: and, behold, there were very many in 
the open valley; and lo, they were very dry. And he 
said unto me, Son of man. can these bones live? And 
I answered, ( ) Lord God, thou knowest. And again 
he said unto me. Prophesy unto these bones, and say 
unto them. O ! yo dry bones, hear the word of the 
Lord ! Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, 
Behold, 1 Vv^ill cause breath to enter you, and ye shall 






220 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE BIBLE. 



live and I will lav sinews upon you, and will bring 
111) flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put 
breath into you, and ye shall live, and know that I 
am the T .ord. So I prophesied as 1 was commanded ; 
and, as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a 
shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his 
bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the 
flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them 
above: but there was no breath in them. Ihen saic 
he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, >on ot 
man, and say to the wind. Thus saith the l.ord Cod, 
(.^ome from the four winds, () breath, and breathe upon 
these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied, as 
he conunanded me, and the ])ieath came nUo them, 
and they lived, and stood 14)011 their feet, an exceecl- 
imr great armv ! ! " Ti>i« i« NomethiuK hke a story, 
'hie lovers of' the \vond(;rl'nl need iioltMimiU JSHTOil 

Munchausen. ^ ,. / 1 *i 

Mv iViiMids, if such puerile r!inps<Mlto^ (aint tli<! 
Uible abounds in such passages,) arc to l»c c^ecmcd 
as philosopliv, scicMice, learnini^, llicii nw ihc nui|H«ir- 
in<.s of fanulicism to b(i considertxl Xhc only critoria 
of^'lunnan cnlighlcnnicnt, and llie deep. \\Mm\\. aiwl 
(•laboiJite researches of iho great aiid the WttC, nui»l 
\)ct Ncoulcd as mere hallu<'inali<>n^ 

hi former lectures I felt it my duty to repudiate ihc 
Jhblo as a standard of consistency and morality. 

I now d.'cm it incumbent upon me 10 <liM:anJ U cis a 
slaudanl of pbilosophy. 

hi Ibis docii^ion I am supporKnl by rvuleiKJC too 
hicontrovernble U) be ivfuled — t<M> pn1pab5c lo be 
denir.l 'I'ho science of Astronomy warranto me in ro- 
pu(halln^ it- (Ecology, ( 'hcmislry Anatomy lliysinlo- 
CV, Natural History, Phrenology, Natural Hulo^oph), 
ail the vjirious arts' and sciences with which man !» 
acouainted, warrant m«* in condemning* it. Jtcloro siicn 
authority, this 'Mcariicd " hook must, i'r« long, hido 
its diminislKHl head—sink to its om^ iiativo 1iiiIoim'.k5 
and absurdity, and never more involve hunuiniiy m 
error, mystery, crime, and delusion ! 



LECTUEE TWELFTH. 



IXFI.UKNCE OF THE B115LE ON SOCIETY. 



FlUENDS 

Pursuant to the intimation civcii last Sunday cv'c- 
niiig, I p«ir|»«»>*e, ill this arldrcs.^ to r<insider Mr Ittfiu^ 
cnrt of thv liihit mt Sacuiy. U:iv\\i<r fully ;in,| enn- 
rlusivHy di5,|>rov«»il its diriiiily. -..i trace iIhj 

ooi^^-ipiCMicc^ u'hich Imvc f»ll"wcNl a mistai:^ «i 
e'jR'L'iuiis and falul. 

\N c will minini*ticc «iiT rrview wilh ihe <1irisliaii 
eta. I slH>uld dixin it a ta»k uVtUc iinni?cr5snry nnil 
rm^biirhoty to uiiic^r into ilio Jewish history. No 
ciilightci>cil 911(1 philniithmpic iniml can (X!rii5C its 
criniMiii |>n»ic without Iw^rror ond disgust. HUx*-l • 

IiUnxI ! hl«» IS D'cnrrlwl on cnTy loaf. The n;:-.i 

olxhirato 9i\(\ <loprav«Ni hoart must be sicktMied on 
rending the atrociii*.^ therein detailed— atro<'iiici«, sgiiil 
lo have bo<!n i»rfornic<l in iIh* ** nanie of tlie L^^rd.'* 
by his own **chi>j*m |)mplc." ()! while the yoiii|i 
oi'onr country aa* trained to jMjflido-r over such M^cnrs 
of h\noi\ and canhij?4\ soriciy u'lii alu'avs be criid 
and dctnowlized, 'I'Ik? spirit of Inr*' anrf virliwi can 
never lloiirish anMKic^sl us, while that pmdnetion 
«\vays the cipiiiinain and actions of inaiikiii<l. 

Had llic |iriesth<KHl or<:|iriM<^n<lnm, assisted by liis 
5^atanic Majesty himself, eiKh-iivurod to compose a 
book tor iIk! |)iir|M>»f? of kec|Mn^ the Inmiaii race iu:- 
iKMraiit, crediilotiK. «npicr8t>tii^ii5i, brutal, and wirtmj 



222 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



they could not have produced one better adapted for 
tlie purpose than the Old Testament. 

It is, as I formerly observed, an immoral pub- 
lication. 

It has served to support the most revolting and 
despicable purposes. It has been the apologist of 
the tyrant in his oppressions — the conqueror in his 
butcheries — the incjuisitor in his tortures — the slave- 
holder in his cruelties— the debauchee in his revelries 
— and the priest in his impostures ! 

Were it possible, by some magic power, to bury in 
oblivion that ponderous volume, and blot out from 
the memory of man the dark and cruel scenes which 
it d(;pi(.'ts, more would be accomplished for the innne- 
diate enlightenment and morality of mankind, than 
has been dotie by the ellorts of the boldest and 
mightiest reformers. 

F^iit I forbear proceeding with this portion of the 
subject, and shall, therefore, commence at once with 
the Tnlluence of the Bible during the Christian era. 
This will refer, more particularly, to the New Tes- 
mament. 

Solemnly and distinctly, then, do I aver, that that 
influence has been most pcrniciovs. It has occasion- 
ed more division, strife, and sectarianism among men, 
and, as a consequence, more enmity, intolerance, and 
bloodshed, than any other single cause during the 
same period. This is a bold and unqualified asser- 
tion, and requires strong and distinct evidence in its 
confirmation. This I shall render, by taking a re- 
View of the progress of Christianity from the time of 
Christ to the present age. 

We find in the New Testament itself, that so early 
as during the lifetime of Christ, '-envyings and jeal- 
ousies " were growing up amongst his disciples; nay, 
even amongst the apostles. In Mark, c. ix., and 
liuke, c. xxii., we are told that they "disputed 
among themselves who should be the greatest ; " and 
in Matt., c. xx., that they were ambitious, and 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



223 



expressed their resentment against each other. In 
Mark, c. x., we read that James and John were 
anxious of being distinguished, by having the privi- 
lege to sit on the right and left hand of Christ in his 
glory : and that the remaining ten, when they heard 
it, " began to be much displeased with James and 
John." 

Soon after the death of .Tesus, we are informed by 
Paul, in 1 Cor., c. i., v. 11, 12, that bitter contentions 
had sprung up among the Christians. He says, 
" For it hath been declared to me, my brethren, by 
them who are in the house of Chloe, that there are 
contentions amongst, you. Now, this I say, that 
every one of you saith I am of Paul, and I of Ap- 
pollos, and 1 of Cephas, and I of Christ ; " and inc. 
lii., v. 3, he remarks, " For ye are yet carnal, for 
whereas there is among you envying and strife^ and 
divisions; are ye not carnal and walk as men?" 
In c. vi., V. 0, 8, he again observes, " Brother goeth 
to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers; " 
"nay, you do wrongs and defraud^ that yonr breth- 
7^en.'^ But Paul entirely forgot to tell them of his 
own squabbles. He could preach charity and for- 
bearance pretty elo(|uently, but like many other 
Christians, forgot to practice it. In Acts, c. xv., v. 
3G-10, a very edifying quarrel is reported between 
him and his brother apostle, Barnabas. " The con- 
tention between them,'' says the story, " was so 
sharpy that they departed asunder one from the oth- 
er." It is supposed that the real cause of this mem- 
orable rupture was a difference of opinion between 
Paul and Barnabas, as to the crucifixion of Christ. 
Paul maintained that Christ was crucified, and Bar- 
nabas that it was .Judas, and not Clirist. 

Those acquainted with ecclesiastical history will 
be aware that so early as during the first century, 
the Christians were split up into many petty sects, 
all of which spit eternal damnation at each otlier 
with the most Christian malignity. One party as- 



224 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



serted that Christ was a mere man, another that he 
was a divine character ; some admitting his resurrec- 
tion, others denying it ; some supporting the story of 
the "miraculous conception,"' and others repudiating 
it. Paul, the champion of tlie divinity of Christ, was 
regarded as an impostor hy the Nazarenes and the 
Ehionites, and his Epistles were esteemed as "idle 
tales and uninspired reveries." "'^J'he Corinthians," 
also says Epiphanius, "had the Acts of the Apos- 
tles with various additions, in which Paul is accused 
of the artifices oi {x false prophet." Bishop Marsh, in 
his famous Lectures, alluding to the division amongst 
the early disciples, says, " So numerous were heretics 
(meaning Christians of different opinions,) in the 
first and second ages, that all the primitive Christians 
seem to have been included under one, or other de- 
nomination of heresy," showing that at that primitive 
period, division, sectarianism, and intolerance, had 
followed from the dissemination of the dark, incon- 
gruous dogmas of the Christian Scriptures. 

In the second century, a violent dispute arose 
among the Cliristian churches, as to the time when 
Easter was to be observed. One division of the 
church — the eastern — alleged that it should be held 
on one day; the other — the western — on another 
day ; the former quoting their authority John and 
Philip, the latter Peter and Paul. This celebrated 
dispute occasioned much cruel persecution. Victor, 
the Roman prelate, excommunicated all the eastern 
churches — cursed them as heretics, and denounced 
all intercourse with them. Thus, by the anathema 
of this "man of God," were the people of the eastern 
entirely dissevered from those of the western world, 
each party looking upon the other as enemies, and 
fostering the most implacable animosity — and all 
through a silly story recorded in the New Testament! 

Early in the third century, a most puerile, though 
inveterate controversy, was started among Christians 
as to the nature of Christ. This controversy, which 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



225 



lasted for several centuries, raged occasionally with 
the most bitter, and brutal animosity, and did not 
terminate until the lives of, at least, 300,000 human 
beings had been sacrificed in the contention. Euse- 
bius informs us that Theodorit, Sabellius, Paulus, 
Samasateinus, Bishop of Antioch, and other eminent 
"Christians," were excommunicated by the dominant 
faction for their heterodox notions upon this subject. 
Well might the Rev. Mr. Brown, in his Defence of 
Revelation, declare, that "To heretricate, schisma- 
ticate and damn one another, it must be owned, is in 
a manner, peculiar to Christians. Heathens had too 
imperfect and uncertain notions of a future state, to 
show, in this manner, mutual hatred." 

It was, not, hovvrever, till the fourth century, when 
Christians liad acquired political power, that the ani- 
7HUS of this religious scheme was manifested in its 
genuine purity. No sooner was Constantine, the Em- 
peror of Rome, converted to Christianity, and fairly 
imbued with the Christian spirit, than he was pre- 
vailed upon by the Christian hierarchy, to institute the 
most shameful and inhuman persecutions, not only 
against the heathens, but the heterodox of their own 
religion. Milner, the pious author of the "Church 
History," cannot but admit, that " the Christian world 
was noic the scene of animosity and contention." 

At the time of Constantine's ascension to the throne 
of Rome, there was a violent contention among the 
Christians upon the subject of the Godhead. The 
substance of this famous controversy, out of which 
sprang the doctrine of the Trinity, was briefly this. — 
One party, headed by Alexander, Bishop of Alexan- 
dria, maintained that '•'•God is always, and the Son 
always, the same time the Father^ the same time the 
Son. The Son co-exists with God, iinbe^ttenhj^ be- 
ing cv(ir begotten, being vnbcgottenly begotten ! " The 
other party, headed by Arian, the presbyter of Alex- 
ander, asserted, that " there was a time when there 
was no Son of God^ and that he, who before was not, 



22G 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIULE ON SOCIETY. 



afterwards existed, being made, whenever he was 
made just as any man whatever .'' 

This silly dispute gave rise to the most unseemly 
squabbles in the church. Dr. Chandler, in lus His- 
tory of Persecution, edited by Ainiore, states that 
'• the bishops of each side liad already interested the 
people in their quarrel, and heated them into such a 
ra-e they attacked and fought with, wounded and 
destroyed each other, and acted with such madness 
as to commit the greatest impieties tor the sake ol or- 
thodoxy, and arrived at that pitch of insolence,^ as o 
olTer ffreat indignities to the imperial images. He 
concludes, by remarking, that tlicir -animosities were 
too furious to be appeased.'' The learned br. Mo- 
sheim himself admits that "it would be dilhcult to 
determine which of the two exceeded most the bounds 
of probity, charity, and moderation. ' At last, in the 
year 325, Constantine convened a council ot tlie Chris- 
tian functionaries, distinguished in ecclesiastical his- 
tory, as the Comicil of Nice, for the purpose ot settling 
this disgraceful schism. Such was the hunuhtu and 
forbearance displayed by these "Christians on this 
memorable occasion, that the riot and uproar which 
existed during the whole of their sittings, would have 
disgraced a pot-hovse. Theodorit says, " Ihose ot 
the Ariaii party were subtle and crafty, and, like 
shelves under water, concealed their wickedness.— 
Amongst the orthodox party, some were oi ^ quarret- 
lin^ malicious temper, and accused several ot the 
bishops, and then presented their accusatory libels to 
the emperor." Tindal states, in his ''•Rights of the 
Church - p. 195, "that if those accusations and libels 
whicli the bishops, at the council of Nice, gave in of 
one another to the Emperor, were now extant m all 
probability we should have rolls of scandal, that lew 
would have much reason to boast of the first a^ccu- 
menical council, where with such heat, passion, and 
fury the bishops fell foul of one another.' A rich 
scene for bishops ! How characteristic of the system ! 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



227 



J 



The issue of this disorderly assembly was, that the 
Arians were defeated. The Emperor, in order to estab- 
lish the doctrine of the opposite party, issued an edict 
against the Arians, as well as heretics and infidels 
of all kinds. The edict declares, as given in Socra- 
tes's Ecclesiastical History, Book 1, c. vii., "More- 
over, we thought good, that if there can be found, ex- 
tant, any work or book compiled by Arius, the same 
should be burnt to ashes, so that not only his damna- 
ble doctrines may thereby be rooted out, but, also, 
that no relique thereof may remain unto posterity. — 
This, also, we straiglitly command and charge, that 
if any man be found to hide or conceal any book made 
by Arius, and not immediately bring forth the same 
book, and deliver it up to be burned, that the said 
ofiender, for so doing, shall die the death. For as 
soon as he is taken, our pleasure is, that his head be 
stricken olf from his shoulders. Cod keep you in Ids 
tuition ! '' Indeed, I think so. What a sample of 
Christian charity ! How honorable to Constantine, 
and his priestly advisers ! 

O ! what good man does not tremble with horror at 
such monstrous intolerance, and regret the day that a 
book should have come into existence, about the dog- 
mas of which, such atrocities have been perpetrated ? 
Well might the l^^mpcror Julian declare, (vv^ho was at 
one time a Christian, tliough he subsequently became 
a Pagan, and one of the best Emperors that ever 
reigned in Home,) that "he found by experience, that 
even beasts were not so cruel to men, as the generality 
of Christians were to one another." The Rev. Dr. 
Chandler, in his History, exclaims, " What confu- 
sions and calamities — what ruins and desolations — 
what rapines and murders — have been introduced 
into the world, under the pretended authorit}^ of Christ, 
and of supporting and propagating Christianity! " 

Following this religion through succeeding periods, 
scenes of intolerance, violence, and cruelty, present 
themselves to our view, so unspeakably horrible, that 

I 






228 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



it sickens me to record them. In the fifth century, 
the church was distracted by a schism occasioned by 
the heresy of Nestorius. It consisted in liis declaring 
that the Virgin Mary was not the mother of God ; that 
she was " only a woman, and, ther^'fore, God could 
not be born of her." "I cannot," says he, "call him 
God, who once was not above two or three months 
old." He, therefore, would only consent to call her 
the " mother of Christ." This doctrine was consider- 
ed so frightfully heretical, that a council was called 
at Ephesus, in Greece, to suppress it. This meeting 
proved such a boisterous one, that Mr. Tindal informs 
us, in his work before quoted, that '' Dioscorns, Bishop^ 
of Alexander, cuffed and kicked Flavins, Patriarch of 
Constantinople, with that fury, that three days after 
he died." Mild bishops, truly ! 

The decision of this Synod was against Nestorius, 
which was " the occasion of irreconcilable hatreds 
amongst the bishops and people, who were so enraged 
against each other, that there was no passing, with 
any safety, from one province or ciiy to another, be- 
cause every one pursued his neighbor as his enemy, 
and revenged themselves upon one another, under a 
pretence of ecclesiastical zeal ! " Mosheim tells us 
that "the Greeks called this council 'a band or as- 
sembly of robbers,' to signify that everything was 
carried in it by fraud or violence ; and many councils, 
indeed, both in this and the following ages, are equally 
entitled to the same dishonorable appellation." 

Towards the close of this century, another Synod 
was called at Chalcedon, to consider the heresy of 
Dioscorns, who had asserted diat "Jesus Christ con- 
sisted of two natures, before his union or incarnation, 
but that after this he had one nature only." The 
discussion of this truly momentous question was so 
violent and obstreporous, that the holy fathers could 
no longer contain themselves, and cried out in fury, 
^^ Damn Dioscorns — banish Dioscorns — Christ haih 
deposed Dioscorns ! " Choice language for a pmis 



i) 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



229 



assembly, an assembly called together to decide upon 
"heavenly truths!" John, in the Rev., c. vii., tells 
us that there was silence in heaven just for the space 
of hair an hour, but had there been quietness in these 
noisy conventions for only five minutes, I apprehend, 
it would have been a phenomenon. 

Continuing our history, we learn from Mosheim, 
Du Pin, Tindal, and other Christian writers, that 
during the sixth, seventh, and eighth century, more 
councils were called to discuss various scriptural to- 
pics, all of which were of the same tumultuous cha- 
racter, and terminated in the bitter persecution of the 
discomfitted faction. At the first council, held at 
Constantinople, to decide upon the heresies of Origen, 
the first point discussed was, "Whether those who 
were dead, (meaning the heretics,) were to be anathe- 
matised or accursed ? " And, such was the religious 
hatred to all heretics, that they not only excommuni- 
cated and cursed all the living, but they actually 
wanted to dig into the very graves of the dead, and 
curse the bones that were rotting in them ! One of 
the priests, named JMUychins. " looked with contempt 
on the fathers for their hesitation in. so plain a matter, 
and told them that there needed no deliberation on the 
subject, for that King Josias, formerly did not only 
destroy the idolatrous priests who were living, but 
dug also those who had been dead long before, out of 
their graves." ^Miis settled the dispute at once, and 
Kutychius was made a bishop for this, his skill in 
Scripture and casuistry. 

Towards the end of the eighth century, (the year 
787,) a council was convened to decide, whether 
images should be set up in churches ; and, after it 
was decided in the aflirmative, they added, as was 
their usual custom, '* damnation to all heretics — dam- 
nation on the council that warred against venerable 
nnages — the Holy Trinity hath deposed them." 

The disputes, among Christians, upon this con- 
temptible question, was the cause of a civil war in 
20 



230 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



the islands of the Archipelago, under Leo TV., and oc- 
casioned throughout Christendom, before its termina- 
tion, the death of at least 50,000 human beings. 

We have now arrived at the tenth century. We 
shall hastily pass from this period to the sixteenth, m 
order that we may show, that after the Reformation, 
under the Reformed church, among Protestants as 
well as Catholics, the Bible was the cause of the same 
dreadful evils, as characterized the dark ages. I may 
remark, that from the tenth to the sixteenth century, 
the Christian world was one frightful scene of intole- 
rance and blood. Europe was a moral wilderness, 
resounding with the savage bowlings of the bigot and 
persecutor. Yes, — 

'' Earth irroaned beneath rclii,non'.s iron age, 

And priests dared babblo of a God ot peace. 

E'en whil(} their hands were red with liiiihless blood, 

Murdering the whik;, uprooting every germ 

Of truth, exterminating, spoiHiiir all. 

Making the earth a slaughter-house." 

During this interval were enacted the bloody trage- 
dies of the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the massacre of 
the Waldcnses, tlie Albigenscs, and other butcheries, 
loo horrible to enumerate; and all for the "glory of 
God,-' and the vindication of his blessed Word ! " \\ e 
now approach the glorious Reformation. Calvin, one 
of the principal actors upon the Christian stage at this 
period, no sooner obtained power and influence, than 
he be^an, like the Catholics, to persecute those whom 
he deemed heretical. He caused Michael Scrvetus to 
be burned in Geneva. He wrote a Declaration to 
maintain the " true faith," in Avhich he states, " it was 
law fill to punish heretics, and that this icrctch, (mean- 
ing Servetus,) was ///.s'/Zy executed." He also perse- 
cuted Castello, in a manner so rude and brutal, that 
he calls him " a blasphemer, reviler. malicious, hark- 
inrr dog, full of ignorance, beastiality, and impudence, 
an'impostor, a base corrupter of the sacred writings, 
a mocker of God, a contemner of all religion, an im- 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



231 



pudent fellow, a filthy dog, a knave, an impious, 
lewd, crooked-minded, vagabond, beggarly rogue." 
Charitable .lohn Calvhi ! Glorious Refor?ner, indeed ! 
But, listen to the furious rage and vindictive intole- 
rance of the worthy follower and coadjutor of Calvin, 
John Knox, the Reformer of Scotland. I take the fol- 
lowing from the '• Edinburgh Magazine and Review," 
for July, 1771. It is an extract from one of John's 
prayers against the Catholics. Addressing himself to 
God against his enemies, he charitably exclaims, 
" Repress the pride of these blood-thirsty tyrants, con- 
sume tJicni in thine anger, according to the reproach 
which they have laid against thy holy name; pour 
forth thy vengeance upon them, and let our eyes be- 
liold the blood of the saints required at their hands. — 
Delay not thy vengeance, O Lord, but let death devour 
them in haste. • Let the earth swallow them up, and 
let them go down quick to Jicll^ for there is no hope of 
their amendment. Tlie fear and reverence of thy 
holy name is quite banished from their liearts ; and, 
therefore, yet, again, O Lord, consume them — consume 
them in thine anger ! " O ! what a Christian ! — what 
a " Reformer ! " What is the language of Luther^ 
the great father of the '• Glorious Reformation," when 
speakhig of the Catholics 7 Listen — ''The Papists 
are all asses, put them in whatever form you please, 
boiled, roasted, baked, fried, skinned, beat, hashed, 
they are always the same — asses. The Pope was 
born out of the devil's posteriors, full of devils, lies, 
blasphemies, and idolatries; he is Anti-Christ, the 
robber of churches, the ravisher of virgins, the great- 
est of pimps, the governor of Sodom." 

What blackguardism for a Christian, and a ''i2e- 
former ! " When the Protestant priesthood had eman- 
cipated themselves from the iron yoke of Popery, 
it was not long ere they established a despotism 
equally brutal and iniquitous. All Dissenters were 
persecuted with as much inveteracy, as under tlie 
Catholic hierarchy. During the bloody reign of 
Henry VIII., an act was passed, ''abolishing diversity 



232 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



of opinion in certain articles concerning the Clirislian 
religion." Ky tliis enactment, it was enforced that 
all Dissenters, for the first offence, were to be impris- 
oned dnring the king's pleasnre; and, for the second, 
to suffer death, (Xeal's History of the Puritans, vol. 
i. p. 2.) Under this law, many dissenting sects were 
persecuted in the most inhuman manner — the Ana- 
baptists, the Brownists, the Puritans, the Uuakers, 
and otiier sectaries experienced the displeasure of the 
Orthodox, and, of course, were subjected to all kinds 
of pains and penalties. 

The Ibllowing was the form of abjuration put to 
the Anabaptists, which they were obliged to make, 
or be burnt : — " Whi-reas we, being seduced by the 
devil, the spirit of error, and false teacher, have fallen 
into these most damnahle and dclcKlable heresies, that 
Christ took not flesh of the Virj^iu Mary, that thr in- 
fants of the faithtul should not be bapti/ed ; and that 
a Christian man may not be a ma.L^istrate, or bear 
the sword and otlice of authority; and thai it is not 
lawful for a Christian man to taUe an oath ; now, by 
the grace of God, and by the assi.stauce of good riiMl 
learned ministers of Christ's dinn^li, I nnderMuliJ 
the same to be most danmable and doietilal>i-(' here- 
sies, and do ask (iod, Ixifore hxs^ ohnrcb, liicrey for 
my said former errors, and do for^ako, rrcmil, ;ind 
renounce them ; and I abjure tlinn fnini the l»ottum 
of my heart, protesting I certainly I c Hie ciwi- 

trary. And, further, I confess llie trhJc ihjf:(fitUf 
established and published in the Clmrch of llii^dcind, 
and also that which is received in \\w Dutch Chiirrli, 
in London, is found true, and according lo Ood*8 
Word, whereunto in all things I .submit Tiiy.tnli; nnd 
will be most gladly a mendier of tlio DiitcJi Chnri'li, 
and henceforth utterly abomiuaiiiii5 and fon^aking 
all and every Aiiabaptiscal errors/^ — Crosby, voL l. 
p. 68. 

Neal states (vol. i. p. 540,) that oiKi l^ciBhtoii, for 
writing a book, in which prelacy was uetiounrcd 
as '' Anti-Scriptitral," was condenjiicd by the High 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



233 



Commissioner to pay a heavy fine, and then to be 
set upon the ])illory a convenient time, and have one 
of his ears cut off, one side of his nose slit, and be 
branded in the face with a double S, and then to be 
carried back lo prison ; and, after a few days, be 
pilloried again in Cheapside, and be then likewise 
whipped, and the other side of his nose slit, and be 
then shut up in close confinement for the remainder 
of his life ! " Bisliop Land, on hearing this decision, 
pulled off his cap, and returned (iod thaidvs. 

The celebrated Richard Baxter was treated in the 
most infamous manner so lately as .lames IL At 
his trial, Judge Jeffries addressed him as follows : — 
*' Richard ! Richard ! dost thou think we will hear 
thee poi.son the Court .^ Richard, thou art an old fel- 
low, and an old kimv*.* — thou hast written books 
onow lo lo^d a carl, every mic n* full of Mrditioii, I 
niiL,'hl say. oi treason^ \vs cm c-^jg is lull of imxii; Iwdst 
ihoii l>ccji ifhlpt out of thy writinL^-trad<! funy years 
ago, it had boon \\ Thnn pn^tciulrst to be a 

iiiraclicr of the uxis|x^l of |»eace: cis llioti liast one 
QOt in the grave, it i« time tor thire to Ixr^nn tu think 
what a<'conjit iliou intendosi to give-, liui^ lojivc iIiih* 
to t]iy5x*lf, an<l I noo iImki will go on a» thou hasi 
l»02Nn ; Unt, by the ffriicc of (to<t, 1 will look after 
lliw. I know iImmi Iwsi a i ; y party, and ' sec* 
a s;n!at many of the iHroclicrhtxxi m comers, awc^iiing 
to fcc wlmt will Ijceonic of their wiii/A/y don, :uid si 
d«Ki<Mr of ilio party at thy elbow; hue, by ihe gmce 
of Almighty Cmk], i will crn»li you all.'* 

'Hie K<:v. .Mr. R< n, in hi.s l<x!tnr» on Xmicoii. 

fonnily, calculalcjt that •'Clarendon, and tl>e hi.sho)xc 
in llic reign of C*hiirlrs II. uIoik!. imprisoned and 
imirderctl KKJO Diwi'iiicr*, rninod tlinnsinids of fanii- 
lk», drove multitude:! abroad, ainl rolibed thcni iA 
from twelve to fonrtei^Ji niillHHi.s of jwojieriy.'' 

Hni the Di»cnicrs llK?ni.5clve5J were jK.'n»eeutor« 
when tliey acqniml j)o>ver. 

The Ptuilans, dnring the ContmociweaUh, liavitig 

20^ 



234 INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 

obtained predominance, expelled from their livings no 
less than 10,UUU Church of England clergymen, and 
treated many most barbarously. Their holy spleen 
extciidcd to all sects who did not t'^^»'^^;^^f ,^ J^^^^T 
hcved. Crosby informs us, (vol i- P- l^^-lOU,) Ihat^ 
on the 2Gth of May, 10 15, the Lord Mayor, Court ot 
Aldermen, and (/ommon (Jouncil of London, Ff ^"t" 
ed a petition to Parliament, commonly called tlie 
'' City Remonstrance," in which they desned, that 
some strict and speedy cause might be taken lor the 
suppressing all private and separate congregations; 
that all Anabaptists, Brownists, heretics, schismatics 
blasphemers, and all other sectaries, who coniovmed 
not to the public discipline, established or to be 
established by l^arliament, might be lully declared 
asainst, and some etfectual course settled lor proceed- 
ing against such persons, and that no person disai- 
fected to Presbyterian government might be emp oyecl 
in anv place 6( trust." This " remonstrance was 
supported by the whole Scottish nation, who beseech- 
ed the English Puritans to proceed boldly, and cease 
not their "labor of love," till the three kingdcrns 
should be united in one faith and worship. 1 he 
(General Assembly of "divines " at Westminster, lor- 
-ottmcT how they had formerly smarted under the 
fash of persecution, declared, that " grantmg ^/er^- 
tion would he opening a gap to all sects and make 
a perpetual division in the church." In a woric, 
published by this "Assembly," we find the following 
ehoice morsel of priestly liberality, "Whatsoever doc- 
trine is contrary to godliness, and opens a door to 
liberalism and profaueness, you must reject as a soul 
poison, such is the doctrine of an universal toleration 
in religion." These enlightened sentiments were 
reciprocated in a publication issued in Lancashire, 
abDiit the same period, called the " Harmonious As- 
sent of the Lancashire ministers with their brethren 
ill Ix)ndon." The authors of this precious work 
affirm, unbluslnngly, that "A toleration would be 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



235 



putting a sword in a madman's hand ; a cup of 
poison into the hand of a child; a letting loose of 
madmen with firebrands in their hands, and appoint- 
ing a city of refuge in men's souls for the Devil to 
fly to; a laying a stumbling block before the blind; 
a ])roclaimiug liberty to the wolves to come into 
Christ's fold to prey upon the lambs; neither would 
it be to provide for tender conscience, but take all 
conscience." Such were tlie sentiments of Dissenters, 
when in poicc7\ How characteristic of Presbyterian 
consistency ! Liberty of conscience, when they could 
not enjoy it, was a glorious thing ; but when they 
had obtained that liberty, and otJicrs wislied to enjoy 
it, " a toleration would be putting a sword in a mad- 
man's hand," " appointing a city of refuge in men's 
souls for the Deed to fly toP It was in America, 
however, that the Puritans exhibited tlieir purity to 
the greatest advantage. Robinson, Howitt, and other 
historians inform us, that they instituted the most 
brutal enactments, against the (iuakers in particidar. 
The colonies of Massachusetts passed a law, prohibit- 
ing Quakers coming into the colony, imposing the 
penalty of bcniish'iiiciit for the first offence, and of 
death upon such as should return after banishment. 
A succession of most sanguinary laws were enacted 
against them, such as imprisonmod^ cutting off the 
ears, boring the tongne icdh red-hot irons, i^^c. Four 
(Quakers were actually executed for returning after 
banishment. If we consider the eflects resulting from 
the introduction of our J^ible religion into our colonies 
generally, we shall find it has produced the same 
strife, sectarianism, and bloodshed as at home. Did 
time permit, 1 could refer you to many most horrible 
and revolting facts. I must content myself with only 
one or two examples. Mr. Garrison, the distinguish- 
ed abolitionist, in a speech delivered at the Anti- 
Slavery Convention, held in lioudon some time ago, 
mentions the following horrible specimen of " Chris- 
tian civilization." He gives an extract from a letter, 



Qon INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 

written by Mr. J. Brown, a missionary at Liberia, 
Civins an account of a recent attack of 300 na ives 
npon the ]\letliodist Missionary Station at lliidding- 
ton The natives had been exasperated at the dog- 
matism of the Christian priests. I^he letter states, 
" After an hour's fighting, the assailants were repuls- 
ed, with the loss of their leader and thirty or lorty 
iih'ii whicli achievement rvas ctfec/cd chiefly hy two 
Mtthodist missionaries, and two native converts. V\ e 
were awakened in our town by the firing of a gun 
about two miles from us ; and, while we were musing 
on what it could mean, we were again alarmed by 
the voices of several of our people exclaiming. War 
is come! war is come!' Brother Simon Harris go 
out of bed immediatelv, and went out in town. J>ut 
he returned in one minute, and told me to be out ot 
bed and load the guns for war was at hand. I im- 
mediatelv arose, slipped on my clothes, and was on 
mv knees to ask (iod to help us. By tliat time tlic 
eneniv was within nuisket-shot ot the mission-house 
Brother Harris went down and gave them the tirst 
shot, and was answered by ten or twelve muskets 
from the enemv, while I was loading muskets m the 
chamber. \n loss than one minute they were run- 
ning np and down the picket fence about three rods 
from the house, as diick as bees around a hive. bro. 
Bennett J )ormory and Brother Harris were the only 
two who stood ill front, between the enemy and the 
lionse Tiiey both stood their ground, and cut them 
down like mowers cutting grass. Meanwhile, Bro 
Tarvis Z. Nichols came into the chamber where 1 
was loading muskets (for we* had eighteen muskets 
in the chamber, which we knew would go at every 
snap, and one hundred ready made cartridges and a 
ke- of powder,) and poured a stream ot lead down 
iipmi them from the windows, as fast as two boys 
could hand liim loaded muskets. In the must ot all 
this, the enemy broke through the fence, and poured 
into the yard like bees. Brothers Hams and Dormo- 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON S0C1E^V^ 



237 



ry now retreated to the door, in which both stood 
side by side, about two rods from them, with two 
muskets apiece, throwing buckshot into their bowels, 

hearts, and brains, like a tornado W bile 

they were gathering up their dead to take off, I had 
the best chance of any to fire into the groups. But 
they soon slung their shattered bodies, and went off 
as if the wicked one was after them. • The engage- 
[meiit continued one hour and twenty-two minutes. 
After they were gone, we went out on the battle 
ground ; and. although they had carried off all tlieir 
dead except three big slabsided fellows, yet I never 
saw such a scene before. There was blood and 
brains in every direction. The path on which tliey 
went was one complete gore on both sides ; yea, it 
stood in puddles. We picked up their fingers by the 
way-side." 

O! and this is pro7nulgatinf^ the ^^ gospel! '^ — dis- 
seminating the " True Word ! " — " enlightening the 
heathen ! " Bah ! 

One more specimen, and I have done. Sir Edward 
Belcher, in a recent work, " Voyages Round the 
World," 1836 — 42, speaking of the condition of the 
natives of the Sandwich Islands, says, " Their labor 
is demanded for the church, the missionaries having 
obtained the necessary edict, which compels the na- 
tives to labor on the roofs, to procure blocks of stone 
for the purpose of building a neio church. The first 
duty of obtahiing subsistence for their families was 
deemed but a secondary consideration. If they should 
presume to do so on Sunday, their punishment was 
double labor the ensuing week." "At Tahiti," says 
Sir Edward, " the natives are compelled to frequent 
the church." Oh, yes ! '' compel them to come in." — 
H\\^i IS eminently Christian, and this is "spreading 
the gospel in foreign parts," /ord/z^f- natives to sup- 
port Christianity. 

It may be alleged, however, that the Bible does not 
sanction such persecution. 



238 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



What I when wc are told in Galatians, c. i., v. 8, 
that " though we, or an angel from heaven preach 
any other gospel unto you than that which we have 
preached to yon, let hbn be accursed.'^ are wc not to 
say that it sanctions persecution'.^ When we are told, 
in c. v., V. 12, "I would they were even cut off \v\\\ii\\ 
trouble you," are we not to allirm that it sanctions 
persecution? When we are told in Matthew, c. x., v. 
15, '• And whosoever ihall not receive yon, nor liear 
your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, 
shake otf the dnst of yonr feet. V'erily, 1 say unto you, 
it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and 
Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city," 
are we not to insist that it sanctions persecution? 

But Christians themselves have admitted that it 
sanctions persecution. Beza, a disthignished (.'hristian 
author of the fourth century, wrote a book in defence 
of persecution, and quotes some of the very passages 
1 have just read to you, and others mentioned in my 
Tenth Lecture. 

Bogarman, the President of the Synod of Dart, held 
in the eleventh century, translated Heza's book, and 
recommended it to tlie magistrates, which recom- 
mendation was adopted. 

But I may be told that Beza was a Cathohc. — 
Then listen to the opinion of tlie Rev. W. Fulke, a 
distingnished English Protestant clergyman of the 
seventeenth century. In his work agahist tlie Papists, 
he says, "for the division of parishes, excomnumica- 
tions, suspensions, solemnizing of marriages with the 
laws thereof, and the punishing of heretics by death, 
they are all manifestly proved out of Scripture ! ! ! " 

Let me now come nearer home. 

What are the effects produced by the dissemination 
of this book in our own age I Has it tended to unite 
mankind ? Has it bound them together by sweet ties 
of love and fraternity ? Has it made men brothers ? 
Ah, no ! It has split them up into an endless number 
of petty sectaries, and sown, in plentiful profusion, 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



239 



the bitter seeds of discord and hatred. This I will 
prove by showing the opinion which the various 
Christian sects entertain of each other. "Calvinism, 
say the Unitarians, "is a tremendous doctrine, which 
had it really been taught by Jesus and his apostles, 
their gospel might truly have been denounced, not as 
the doctrine of peace and good will, but a message of 
wrath and injustice, of terror and despair." It was 
viewed by Dr. Priestly, not only "as the extrava- 
gance of error, but as a mischievous compound of 
impiety and idolatry." — (Rev. J. Belsham's discourse 
on Dr. Priestly.) By the Arminian Christians, Cal- 
vinism is represented as a system, which, says Dr. 
Jortin, consists "of hmnan creatures without liberty, 
doctrine without sense, faith without reason, and a 
God without mercy.'' Mr. Warren declares diat "its 
frightful demoralizing errors are spreadhig themselves 
like a black mist through the land, blasting every 
spiritual joy, withering every amiable feeling, and 
poisoning every social and domestic charity." By the 
Calvinist Christians, on the odier hand, Arminianism 
is denounced "as delusive, dangerous, and ruinous 
to inmiortal souls." — (Close's Sermons, 1831.) Top- 
lady affirms that, " a particle of it never attended a 
saint to heaven." " Sochiians," says the Rev. Mr. 
Cunningham, in his Apostacy of the Church of Rome, 
p. 168, " are even fartlier removed than the Church of 
Rome." The Rev. Mr. Norris, as quoted in Aspland's 
plea, denounces their doctrines as "envenomed blas- 
phemies." Arch. Magee says, in his Discourse on 
Atonement, 1809, their system "embraces the most 
daring impieties that ever disgraced tlie name of 
Christianity." " I would rather," says the Rev. Mr. 
Carson, " be the veriest prostitute, the disgraced and 
infected inhabitant of the lowest brothel, than be Dr. 
Drummond, (the Arian.) I would rather be a Thur- 
tel, the sanguinar\^ and premeditated murderer, than 
be Dr. Priestly, die Unitarian." See Bib. diristians, 
Nov. 1830, p. 4.49. Methodism, according to the Or- 



240 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 



tliodox Church Magazine, for 1802, p. 326, derived 
botli its origin and its name from the Methodism of 
the Devil. " The Methodists,'' says the Rev. Calven- 
ist Mnlock, in his Divine Truth, p. 129, 1821, " and 
other miserably-misled fanatics, are awfully alicnaied 
from all knowledge of the true God. Their expei-i- 
ences, when tried by Scripture, are found to be details 
of the polluted workings of the imagination in minds 
stimulated by the ravings of the hot-brained enthusi- 
asts. They have contrived what may be termed con- 
vulsive (Christianity, a system of sighs, groans, and 
sensual impulses, to supersede that glorious faith. — 
Looking through the annals of Methodism, the Chris- 
tian cannot fail to notice the subtlety of Satan, in thus 
sensonal)ly providing a substitute for Popery in the 
hour of its decline. It retahis everything of Popery, 
but its gorgcousness and ritual observances. The 
same depraved deference to human nature, stamps it 
as the religion of con'upt Jiumnn natiire''^ The whole 
body of Protestant Dissenters, in Godolplnu's Report, 
p. 02.3, are denounced " as accursed, devoted to the 
Devil, and separated from Christ." The Rev. Mr. 
Gathercole, in a letter to a dissenting minister, pub- 
lished in 1S34, actually declares that, "dissent is 
worse than drunkenness, and its followers arc actuated 
by the Devil, and the curse of God rests heavily on 
them all ! " The Church of England, in return, is 
denounced by the Unitarians through 1)^. Priestly, in 
his Remarks on Blackstone, p. 171, "as idolatrous, 
and consequently a deviation from the gospel of the 
most criminal kind," and by the Cahiiiists, through 
the Rev. ^Ir. Binncy, as quoted in the Christian Ob- 
server, 1834, " as an obstacle to the progress of truth 
and holiness in the land, and that it destroys more 
souls than it savesP The Papal religion again is a'c- 
pudiated by Bishop Warburton, in his Principle of 
Religion, as an "impious farce;" and by the Rev. 
Mr. Cecil, as quoted in Cunningham's Apostacy, p. 
140, as " the masterpiece of Satan — a complicated 



INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 241 

ix., and Hob V ' -«»«'«'' Testament on Join, 

■'^iich, then, is IJibloism, as it ii Si„.h .1. r 

dim„J I ^ 7K ?- '^ damned, because everv one 
damns all but itsolt, and is itself damned bv 499 '' 

truth. ?1 mnucnce hco.n per?iicious ? Do not 

initli and humanitv a ke deminff lUnt ^f i n V 

repudiated? ()f must i .till .• '^ ^^'"'"''^ ^'^ 

♦ I 1 1 ^'^^^'' ^"^ s^^h continue to snroi^l mr^ii 

tal desolation among men i Must i^f .tm^ ii 7 

wnicl. nnglit otherwise be strewn with ilie bri<.l, 
sZrj,'''''^'''^ •7--'«dge, and tru h? No' Sc 

io^r^l „ H "■"" 8'''^"P °f priestcraft. He hai 

ncv« , t^'rirtdi";.: r^.^^^r^'^'^^^y' -^ 

chorn^ T 1; / I ^^ ^^^^ J^^"^^ in its glorious 

t me .^'u::;'j!;^s:s^::,S'S llv^^ 

Ijo. imagine that they wilFLnfLe ks f^soid v hm 

of .s vital Iv^v'"'" "f ""-^"'^'"'-^^ -'" deprive 
Vict ml of -,1 L r /,""^, Pf'-'S"mpt»o>>s mortals !_ 

victims of a system of falsehood and imposture ! N»! 



242 INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON SOCIETY. 

let them bid the wliirlwind be calm, the earthquake 
be still, the thunderbolt be powerless, the ocean be 
stagnant, but bid not the human mind remain quies- 
cent in their unholy grasp. No ! 

" Fear not that the tyrants shall rule for ever, 
Or the priests of 'the bloody faith ; 
They stand on the brink of that mighty river. 

Whose waves they have tainted with death : 
It is fed from the depths of a thousand dells, 
Around tliem it foams, and rages, and swells. 
And their swords and their sceptres I fioatmg see, 
Like wrecks oa the surge of eternity.'' 



LECTURE THIRTEENTH. 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



Friends — 

L\ the address I recently delivered on the Morality 
of the Bible, I observed, that amongst the mass of 
obscenity and immorality which characterized that 
production, there might probably be found a few un- 
exceptionable passages, but these were by no means 
original or transcendental. Passages as good, and 
m many instances, much better, could be quoted 
from the writings of men who knew nothing of the 
"Word of God," who lived centuries before the 
Christian era, and whose reputation was not like 
the alleged authors of the Bible, tainted with crimes 
and vices, the very mention of which was pollution. 
I gave a few instances in point, promising that on a 
future occasion I would enter fully iiUo the subject. 
I now appear to redeem that promise. 

There is a vulgar notion amongst Christians that 
there never were any views of morality before the 
l^ible was composed, and that 7vkhoift the Bible we 
should have no idea of right and wrong. We should 
be left without a moral rudder or compass to steer us 
through the ocean of life. 

This notion I hold to be as absurd, as it is gratui- 
tous and presumptuous. Morality existed before the 
Bible existed, and morality will exist when the Bible 
is obsolete. We can find morality, and that of the 



244 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



highest and purest character — morality utterly un- 
mixed and uncorrnptcd with the obscenities, barbari- 
ties, mysteries, and incongruitit^s which crowd the 
pages of the " Holy Scriptures," in the writings of 
men who could never have known of those precious 
lucubrations. 

Morality, therefore, is perfectly independent of the 
Jewish and (>bristian text book. 

We shall first remark upon a few of the authors of 
ancient Greece, commencing with Thales. I may 
state that the authorities 1 have consulted are highly 
respectable.— Dr. Mnlield's " History of Philosophy," 
and "The Student; or, the Biography of Grecian 
Philosophers." 

Thales was born B. C. 013, and died B. C. 548. 
He was one of the founders of the (Grecian schools of 
philosophy, and so ardent was his thirst for know- 
ledge, that he gave up the care of his estate to his 
nephew. Science owes much to Tlialcs, which can- 
not be said of any of the Bible writers. Though 
living at so remote a period, he was so far acquainted 
with astronomy and mathematics, as to be able to 
predict an eclipse, and to determine the solar revolu- 
tion with such accuracy, that he corrected the Gre- 
cian calendar, and made their year contain 3G5 days. 
His moral doctrines, with which we have more par- 
ticularly to do, on this occasion, were singularly 
excellent. I mentioned in my address on the moral- 
ity of the Bible, that he taught the very doctrine 
Christians say comprises all morality, " Do unto 
others as you would wish others to do unto you." 
This, we are told, is the "golden rule," and the law 
by which the moral world should alone be governed. 
Now this law, the basis of all morality, was pro- 
pounded by a philosopher, who was ignorant of the 
Scriptures, who wrote 600 years before Christ was 
born, 300 years before the Old Testament was trans- 
lated into Greek, and 200 before even the Old Tes- 
tament vvas compiled. I hold, then, that this, the 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



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X 



fundamental principle of morality, is altogether inde- 
pendent of the I^ible, and were that book forgotten 
to-morrow, the acknowledged standard of morals 
would still be left to regulate the actions of man- 
kind. The words of Thales are, "Avoid doing what 
you would blame others for doing." He also taught 
that noble aphorism, " Know^ thyself" How soon 
would vice and disease be unknown if this injunction 
was universally followed! He likewise says, "J,et 
your study be to correct the blemishes of the mind, 
rather than those of the face." Were this the practice 
of the world at the present moment, we should see 
society adorned with wise and good men, instead of 
being, as it is, overrun with dandies and coquettes. 
" Stop the mouth of slander," says he, " by pru- 
dence." " Enrich not thyself by unjust means." " f5e 
not idle, though rich." " Learn, and teach better 
thmgs." " Let not any words fall from thee which 
may accuse thee to him who hath committ(;d anythin<^ 
in trust to thee." " Entertain not evil." " Idleness is 
troublesome." " Intemperance hurtful." " Ignorance 
intolerable." " Use moderation." " Believe not all." 
"If a governor, rule thyself." "Be equally mind- 
ful of friends, present and absent." "Cherish thy 
parents," which is a beautiful contrast to Christ's 
doctrine of " He who hates not his father and his 
mother," &c. " What thou bestowest on thy ])ar- 
cnts, thou shalt receive from thy children in thine 
old age." A beautiful exhortation to filial duty and 
alfection. He gives the following rational defiliition 
of human happiness: — "Sound health, moderate for- 
tune, and a mind well stored with knowledge; these 
arc the grand ingredients of happiness." 

Find me morality better than this in the Bible. 
Give me any name from the Scriptures that can be 
compared to this Grecian sage. I defy you. 

^\ e will now speak of Solon, the immortal law- 
giver of Athens, a ditfereut character, I assure you, 
to the Biblical sage, Solomon. He lived from 638 to 

21* 



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MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



558 B. C. Up. observed, "Make reason thy guide" 
— not blind faith as incnlcated by Panl and Peter. 
Also says he, "Study excellence, and aim at acquir- 
ing it." " In everything you do, learn to consider 
the end." " l^aws are like cobwebs which entangle 
the lesser sort, the greater break dirough." " Cherish 
thy friend." "Reverence thy parents." "Those are 
happy," he remarks, "who are competently furnished 
with outward things, act honestly, and live temper- 
ately." This great patriot died with the conviction, 
that "he had left the world better for having lived in 
it," not as Solomon, exclaiming, "all is vanity." 

Pittacus, the next distinguished author of antiqui- 
ty from whom 1 shall quote, was one of th*e seven 
wise men of ( Greece, lie flourished about 570 B. O. 
He also, with Tliales. as mentioned on a former oc- 
casion, taught identically tlie same doctrine, as tliat 
which is said to be the corner-stone of all morality, 
and which Christians pretend is so peculiar to their 
own system. He says, -'Avoid doing that to your 
neighbor, which you would take amiss if he was to 
doit to yon." He also taught, "Whatever you do, 
do It well." " Never boast of your plans before they 
arc executed, for fear of the ridicule and disappoint- 
ment to which you will be exposed if you do not 
accomplish them." Pittacus felt a supreme contempt 
and disgust at that beastly habit, I was going to say, 
crime, drunkenness. He proposed from the public 
forum of Athens, that every fault committed while 
the person was in a state of intoxication, instead of 
being excused, should receive double punishment. 

I wonder what Pittacus would have thought if he 
had heard of the freaks of that Bible moralist, Noah ! 
What a contrast between these heathen philosophers 
and those Scriptural heroes ! 

l^ias, another of the seven wise men of Greece, 
who flourished about 556 B. (y., taught that the value 
of knowledge was above all price. During an in- 
vasion of his country, one of his friends observed 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



247 



with surprise that he took no means of preserving 
anything, Bias replied, alluding to the knowledge he 
had acquired, " I carry all my treasures with me." 

Chilo, another of the wise men, was a Spartan, 
and a man of the most rigid integrity. He was 
made one of the Spartan Ephori. He lived 542 years 
B. C. The following are a few of the moral precepts 
inculcated by that model of virtue. " Honest loss is 
preferable to shameful gain" — a hint which might 
be useful to many trading Christians of the present 
day. " If you are great, be condescending, for it is 
better to be loved than to be hated " — a hint which 
might also be of service to many Christian despots, 
in this Christian age. " Think before you speak." 
" Gold is tried by the touchstone, and men are tried 
by gold." " Do not desire impossibilities." " Never 
ridicule the unfortunate." 

Cleobulus, another of the seven, taught a doctrine 
much similar in spirit, though less paradoxical in 
language, to that boasted doctrine of Christ's, which 
is said by Christians to be so pre-eminently chari- 
table and moral, viz., " liOve your enemies." Cleo- 
bulus says, " Be kind to your friends that they may 
continue such ; and to your enemies that they may 
become your friends." Cleobulus lived 571 years 
B. C. If, therefore, there be any merit in that dogma, 
it is due to the former. The following were also his 
maxims: — "Avoid excess;" "Be more desirous to 
hear than to speak ; " " Before you go home, think 
what you have to do — when you come home, ex- 
amine vourself and consider whether you have done 
all well." 

I shall now speak of that illustrious moral teacher, 
Socrates, the Robert Owen of Athens. No character 
in the Bible can be compared to that virtuous sage. 
His life was one of exalted goodness and utility. No 
one can contemplate his actions and his teachings 
without feeling a better man, and few, I think, can 
read of his cruel death without, as Cicero remarks, 



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MORALITY WITHOUT THB BIBLE. 



shodding tears. Socrates is a glorious answer to that 
insnirorable piece of cant and assurance — tliat unless 
a man is a ('liristian or a believer in the liible, he 
cannot be a good man. The character of ( 'hrist 
himself, considered only in its most favorable features, 
falls quite into the shade, when placed in juxtaposi- 
tion with that of the Athenian moralist. J)r. Knlield, 
wlio was a Christian minister and historian of con- 
siderable celel)rity, admits that Socrates was "a man 
whose penetrating judgment, exalted virtue, and lib- 
eral spirit, united with exemplary integrity and purity 
of maimers, entitled him to the highest distinction 
among the ancient philosophers.^' 

Time will only admit of my (pioting a few of his 
maxims. He taught that " True felicity is not to be 
derived from external possessions, but from wisdom, 
which consists in the knowledge and practice of 
virtue; that the cultivation of virtuous manners is 
necessarily attended with pleasure, as well as profit 
— that the honest man alone is happy, and that it is 
absurd to sej)arate things which in nature are so 
closely united as virtue and interest.'' lie held that 
honors and riches ought to be secondary to the ac- 
quisition of sound knowledge. " The wealth of a 
covetous man," he beautifully observes, "is like the 
sun after it is i^ct — it cheers nobody." " Believe not 
those who praise all your actions, but tliose who re- 
prove your faults." 

W hen solicited by Crito to escape from his cruel 
imprisonment, he nobly replied, "That no man on 
any pretence, should return an injury for an injury," 
a sentiment worthy of such a philanthropist. Socra- 
tes was essentially a practical moralist. Christ, when 
in his best humors, was but a theorist. Socrates was 
born 161), and died lUO years 0. C. 

Aristi[)pus, the lounder of the rVreniac, who flou- 
rished about 365 years before the Christijui epoch, 
promulgated some very sound and enlightened views 
of morality. He was the l>entham of that age His 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



249 



opinions are decidedly utilitarian. He held that 
pleasure was the ultimate object of human pursuit, 
and that happiness consisted rather in a pleasing agi- 
tation of the mind, or active enjoyment, than in indo- 
lence or tranquillity. " Prefer labor to idleness," says 
he, "imlessyou would prefer rust to brightness." — 
" The truly learned arc not those that read mucli, but 
those who read what is useful "—a very judicious 
observation. "Friendship," he remarks, "is recipro- 
cal benevolence which inclines each individual to be 
as anxious for another person's welfare as for his 
own." "It is better to be poor than illiterate, for the 
poor only want money, the illiterate want the distin- 
guishing characteristics of human nature." 

The following is quite equal to the boasted wisdom 
of Solomon, as given in the passage, "Train up a 
child in the way he should go, and when he is old he 
will not depart from it." Aristippus remarks, "Young 
people should be taught those things which will be 
useful to them when they become men." Contrary 
to the opinion of that arch-apostle, Paul, Aristi])pus 
entertained a high opinion of the utility and advanta- 
ges of philosophical inquiry. Being asked by a friend, 
" What is the advantage you receive from philoso- 
phy 7 " he replied, " It enables me to converse freely 
with all mankind "—a noble, liberal, and enlighten- 
ed sentiment. As much could not be said for religion ; 
especially the Christian religion. It teaches, through 
its apostle John, " If there come any unto you, and 
bring not this doctrine, receive him not in your house, 
neither bid him God-speed;" nay, says Paul, "let 
him be accursed;" and Christ himself remarks, with 
that bitterness so peculiar to Iiim, " when ye depart 

from his house, shake off the dust of your feet." 

()! how nobly docs the si)irit of the heathen philoso- 
pher rise above that of the Christian bigot, morality 
alx>ve religion, philosophy above superstition ! 

We will now refer to Aristotle, one of the leading 
philosophers of antiquity, and unquestionably tlie 



I 



250 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



most varied and voluminous writer of any age. He 
was born 384 B. C, and died 322 B. C. 

Where will you find a better definition of justice 
than the following? "Justice is the virtue of treating 
every one according to his deserts.'' '• Justice includes 
the observance of the laws for the preservation of so- 
ciety, and the discharge of obligations and debts be- 
tween equals."' He also taught the following excellent 
maxims: "Learning is the best provision against 
old age." " Friends, are one soul in two bodies." — 
" There is just as much difference between the wise 
and the foolish as there is between the living and the 
dead." '•' A virtuous life is itself a source of delight; " 
a splendid sentiment. Again, " the purest and noblest 
pleasure is that which a good man derives from virtu- 
ous actions." Will you tell me there is no morality 
in that sentiment I Find me a passage in the whole 
of the Bible to equal it. " V irtue is either theoretical, 
or practical ; theoretical virtue consists in the due ex- 
ercise of the understanding — practical, in the pursuit 
of what is right and good." " Happiness," says he, 
"consists in a conduct conformable to virtue." These 
sentiments are worthy of an enlightened and good 
man, and are infinitely superior to the Bible morality. 

Antisthenes, the founder of the Cynic sect, pro- 
pounded many useful maxims — maxims which ought 
to make some of our modern Christian moralists 
blush. He had a great antipathy to war, as being 
alike cruel and barbarous. He did not exhort his fel- 
low-citizens, in the language of Christ, "If you have 
no sword, sell your garment and buy one," but as be- 
came a man of enlightenment and humanity, he en- 
treated his countrymen to abandon that demoralizing 
and inhuman practice. " War," said a person to him 
on one occasion, " carries off many wretched behigs; " 
and this is the cold philosophy of not a few of our 
modern Christians. " True," said Antisthenes, " but 
it makes many more than it carries ofiV Well would 
it be for civilization, if, instead of having more Chris- 



t 



' 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



251 



tians, we had a few more Antisthenites. That dis- 
tinguished man flourished about 390 years before 
our era. 

Pythagoras, who has done more for philosophy 
than any Christian, taught some admirable maxims. 
He lived 500 years B. C. " Wisdom and virtue," 
says he, "are our best defence, every other guard 'is 
weak and unstable." What a singular contrast to 
the doctrine of Paul, " If a man be ignorant— let him 
be ignorant "—and that "a man is justified by faith 
without the deeds of the law ! " In the estimation of 
that Bible moralist, good works were as " filthy 
rags." Pythagoras also enjoined, " Do what you 
judge to be right, whatever the vulgar may think of 
you; if you despise their praise, despise also their 
censure." If Christians were to practice this injunc- 
tion there would be less hypocrisy, cant, and pro- 
fession amongst them than at present prevails. Men 
can never afford to keep a conscience, till they dare 
to keep one. Pytliagoras attached great impo'rtance 
to the education of the rising generation. He re- 
marks, "Much forethought and discretion is necessa- 
ry m the education of children. The following beau- 
tiful advice was given by him to his scholars :—" Let 
not sleep fall upon thine eyes till thou hast thrice 
reviewed the transactions of the past day. Where 
have I turned from rectitude? What have I been 
doing? What have I left undone which I ouglit to 
have done ? Begin thus from the first act, and pro- 
ceed ; and in conclusion, at the ill which thou hast 
done be troubled, and rejoice for the good." 

In Democritus we likewise find many worthy sen- 
timents. He was highly distinguished among the 
great men of Greece and was born 470 years B C 
and died 361. "It is criminal," says he, "not only 
to do mischief, but to wish it." "He who subdues 
his passions is more heroic than he who vanquishes 
an enemy." " Do nothing shameful, though yon arc 
alone." " Every country is open to a wise man, for 



252 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



he is a citizen of the world." The following noble 
sentiment is found in the writings of this great man, 
and is in advance even of this age: — "It is the office 
of prudence, where it is possible, to prevent injuries, 
but where this cannot be done, a wise regard to 
our own tranquillity will prevent us from revenging 
them." " We are often told of that ejaculation of 
Christ's — " Father, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do." But this sentiment from Democritus 
includes all the humanity, and incomparably more 
enlightenment than Christ's famous exclamation. 

We must now notice Epicurus, whose mildness, 
temperance, and virtue, might have taught a useful 
lesson to such Bible moralists as Moses, Joshua, 
Samuel, David, and Solomon. That admirable phi- 
losopher was born 3 11 years B. C, and died 270. lie 
held the following enlightened views: — "Philoso- 
phy is the exercise of reason in search of happiness. 
Those things, therefore, that neither assist in the 
pursuit, nor add to the amount of happiness, are of 
no value.*' '•Temperance," he remarks, "is that 
discreet regulation of the desires and passions by 
which we are enabled to enjoy pleasure without 
suffering consecpient inconvenience." To be impi- 
ous," says he, " is not to take away from the illiter- 
ate the gods Avhich they have, it is to attribute to 
those gods the opinions of the vulgar." How appli- 
cable is this definition to the Bible believers ! Epi- 
curus likewise taught, " Since it is every man's 
interest to be happy, through the whole of life, it is 
the wisdom of every one to employ philosophy in the 
search of felicity without delay, and there cannot be 
a greater folly than to be always beginning to live." 
" We must philosophise, not for show, but seriously, 
for it is requisite not that we seem sound, but that 
we be sound." " Let us endeavor so to live ihat we 
may not repent of the time past " — a most sound and 
valuable aphorism — "The life of a fool is unpleas- 
ant." "Justice," he wisely remarks, "respects man 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



253 



as living in society, and is the common bond, without 
which no society can subsist. Tliis virtue, like the 
rest, derives its value from its tendency to promote 
the happiness of life. Not only is it never injurious 
to the man who practices it, but nourishes in his 
mind calm reflections and pleasant hopes; whereas 
it is impossible that the mind in which injustice 
dwells should not be full of disquietude. Since it 
is impossible that iniquitous actions should promote 
the enjoyment of life, so much as remorse of con- 
science, legal penalties, and public disgrace must in- 
crease its troubles, every one who follows the dictates 
of sound reason will practice the virtues of justice, 
equity, and fidelity." Such arc the sentiments of 
the Grecian sage Epicurus. Are they surpassed, or 
equalled by any of the Bible moralists I The various 
moral maxims, indeed, which have been elucidated 
by Christian divines are but an echo of the teachings 
of men who flourished ages before Christianity was 
promulgated, and who knew nothing of that book, 
from which Christians assume all true morality ema- 
nated, and without which the world would become 
a moral wilderness. It is not, therefore, to Clnis- 
tianity we are originally indebted for our moral prin- 
ciples ; they existed before Christianity was institu- 
ted, or the Bible known. Morality, then, I repeat, 
is independent of the Scriptures — rests, fortunately, 
upon a more pure and imperishable basis, than upon 
writings so immoral. 

To prove that a population may be a moral popu- 
lation, and still ignorant of the l^ible, I will quote a 
few words from Addison, author of " Evidences of 
Christianity," &c., and which confirm the preceding 
observations. Alluding to the reverence for truth 
among the ancient Atlicnians, he observes : — " The 
virtue of the ancient Athenians is very remarkable in 
the case of Euripides. This great tragic poet, though 
famous for the morality of his plays, had introduced 
a person who, being reminded of an oath he had 

22 



i^f^iSgf'VW!:'PI!^^tS^W^9^yV^"/!f^- 



251 



IVIOilALITY WITHOUT THE BIDLE. 



taken, replied, I swore with my moiitli, but not with 
my heart. The impiety of this sentiment set the 
audience in an uproar; made Socrates (though an 
intimate friend of the poet) go out of the theatre 
with indignation, and gave so great offence, that he 
was pubhcly accused, and brought upon his trial, 
as one who had suggested an evasion of what they 
thought the most holy and indissoluble bond of hu- 
man society. So jealous were these virtuous heath- 
ens of the smallest hint that might open a way to 
perjury." 

I'his circumstance transpired nearly 500 years be- 
fore the existence of Christianity. What a glorious 
contrast to the ('liristian population of the lOtli cen- 
tury ! The admirers of Jack Sheppard and Dick 
Tiirpin ! hi England, the grand emporium of Chris- 
tianity, the land of Bibles, churches, and parsons, 
Dr. Price informs us, that there are "a million of 
perjuries committed annually." How strange the 
difference between ancient (Greece, and modern Eu- 
rope ; one the nursery of heathenism — the other of 
Christianity ! 

1 will now briefly refer to the morality of the an- 
cient Romans. What says their great moral teacher, 
Seneca ? After denouncing that monster crime, and 
eminently Christian practice, war, he asks, '• How- 
are we to behave towards our fallen creatures? How 
must we answer it? What rules shall we lay down? 
Shall we say that we ought to spare the effusion of 
human blood ? How small a matter it is not to hurt 
liim, whom we are bound, by every obligation, to do 
all the good to in our power ! A prodigious merit, 
indeed, if man is mild and gentle to his fellow man ! 
We are all limbs of one great body. Nature pro- 
duces us all as relations one to another. She inspired 
us with mutual love, and m.ade us social. Accord- 
ing to her lavvrs, it is a more wretched thing to do an 
injury^ than to suffer death." Such are the moral 
principles of a Pagan — one who was never blessed 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



255 



with " the light of the Gospel." Let me not be told 
that no morality is to be found but in the Christian's 
Bible, while "Seneca's morals" can be read, liistcn 
to the moral philosophy of another Roman, no less 
a man than the illustrious Cicero. In his Book on 
Laws there is the following glorious moral truth : 
'• The universal, immutable, and eternal law of all 
intelligent beings is, to promote the happiness of one 
another like children of the same father." Again, 
'* The great law imprinted on the liearts of all men, 
IS to love the public good, and the members of the 
common society as themselves." Is there anything 
to excel this in the Bible? Yet Cicero had the mis- 
fortune to live before "our Saviour." 

Let me now speak of a people who knew nothing 
of our inspired text-book — the Chinese. The ancient 
inhabitants of that vast empire had a great number 
of books, principally on morals. The more impor- 
tant of those writings are called IJikn, or the five 
volumes ; and Xu Xu, or the four volumes. Tac 
first of the five is called Xu Kin. It was writhy 
long before the time of Moses, and contains a histore 
of the kings and sages of the first ages, with thev 
wise sayings and moral maxims. The second is 
called Xi Kim, and contains a history of twellii 
kings, written in rhyme, interspersed with moret 
maxims. 

Confucius says, that the universal moral idea of 
the book is, "Think nothing that is wicked or im- 
pure." The third is called Xe Kim. This is con- 
sidered the most ancient of all the books, and is 
ascribed to Fohi himself. It cannot now be deci- 
phered. The fourth is named Chun Creu, or Spring 
and Summer. It was compiled by Confucius, and 
treats of the rise of kingdoms by virtue, and their 
fall by vice — Spring representing the rise, and Sum- 
mer the fall. The fifth is called the Li Ki, or 
Memoirs of Rights and Duties, and was compiled by 
Confucius, chiefly from materials previously existing. 



256 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



In this production the following moral precept is pro- 
pounded, precisely the same precept as that said to 
constitute the basis of Christian morals. The pas- 
sage exhorts the followers of Fohi to " Do to another 
what you would they would do unto you, and do 
not unto another what you would should not be 
done unto you; thou only needeth this law alone, it 
is the foundation and principle of all the rest." — 
Moral 24.. 

This is just saying, almost in the same language, 
" Do uiUo others as you would wish others do unto 
you." Now Confucius lived 500 years before Christ, 
and if the " Memoirs of Rights and Duties," in which 
this moral is inculcated, be but a compilation, to a 
great extent, of moral precepts previously existing 
among the Chinese, it is highly probable this '' gold- 
en rule," said first to be promulgated by Christ, had 
been current among that ancient people thousands 
of years before our era. This fact proves the utter 
want of originality in Christian ethics, and that mo- 
rality can exist without the Bible. 

The following passages from the writings of Con- 
fucius clearly show that the boasted dogmas of for- 
giving injuries for which Christ has been so much 
lauded, was taught by the Chinese moralists long 
ere die " Son of God" was "born." " Acknowledge 
thy benefits," says Confucius in his maxims, page 
133, " by the returu of other benefits, but never re- 
venge injuries." 

The following are a few Chinese proverbs, which 
are as sensible and pure as any of Solomon's: — "As 
tlie scream of the eagle is heard when she has passed 
over, so a man's name remains after his death." 
"Following virtue is like ascending an eminence, 
pursuing vice is like rushing down a precipice." 
"Man perishes in the pursuit of wealth, as a bird 
meets with destruction in pursuit of its food." " Pet- 
ty distinctions are injurious to rectitude; quibbling 
words violate right reason." " Those who respect 



J 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



257 



themselves will be honorable; but he who thinks 
ligluly of himself, will be held cheap by the world. ' 
"Time flies like an arrow: days and months like 
a weavers shuttle." " hi making a candle we seek 
for light; light to illumine a dark chamber; reason 
to enlighten man's heart." " In security do not for- 
get danger; in times of tranquillity do not forget 
anarchy." 

The Ancient Persians. We find morality even 
among this people — a people whom Christians deem 
almost beneath contempt. No one, I opine, will 
aflirm that they had the "light of the Gospel." Mr. 
Dunlap, in his unrivalled defence of Abner Knee- 
land, who was tried for blasphemy in America a 
few years ago, has made the following admirable 
remarks upon the morality of that people, as con- 
trasted with that of modern Christians, in proof of 
the position T am maintaining, that morality is inde- 
jjcndent of the Bible. He observes, " Illustrations 
from history abundantly sliow that morality ^an 
exist without Christianity. Is there not a beautiful 
instance in ancient history of forgiveness of an ene- 
my, and magnanimity to a fallen foe, which the bend 
of the Church of llngland in our time — the Prince. 
Regent of the i^ritish empire, had not the lofty virtue 
to imitate? 1 allude to the difibrent treatment of 
Themistocles, and the modern Themistocles (mean- 
ing Napoleon) by the heathen and Christian moii- 
arclis. Did not the Persian king display more re<d 
virtue than the Christian sovereign? Themistocles 
had repulsed the fleets and armies in Persia, and 
raised the Athenian republic to that pinnacle of glory 
which Great Britain reached when the vanquished 
Napoleon came a suppliant to a victorious foe. The 
statesman of Athens experienced the ingratitude of 
the republic, and was compelled to seek at the Per- 
sian Court, a retreat from the persecution ot' his 
countrymen. He threw himself at tlie feet of the 
monarch of that nation whose fleets he had captured, 

22''- 



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MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



and wliose immense armies he had overthrown and 
asked for protection and liospitality. Was it denied 
liim I No, gentlemen ; all enmity was forgotten 
wlien they beheld the great man of the age in the 
depth of distress, lie was received with kindness 
and entertained with honor, l^ie revennes of cities 
were assigned to his support, and the illustrious 
and unfortunate Athenian was the chief among the 
friends of the king, and the object of the admiration 
of his brilliant court. Compare the conduct of the 
lieathen pruice with the treatment of the Christian 
monarch, of a greater man than even Themistocles. 
The Emperor Napoleon was received under circum- 
stances which ought to have bound the consciences 
of a (Jhristian people, and the honor of a Christian 
government. He said to the British people, ' I come, 
like Themistocles, to throw myself uihmi the hospi- 
tality of the British people.' But he was not receiv- 
ed by this Christian governuHMit as was Themistocles 
by the Persians. He was denied the honorable asy- 
lum he sought. Tlie laws of nations- — the dictates 
of humanity, and the i)reccpts of the gospel were 
violated, and he was borne away to a pestilent rock 
m the midst of the ocean, which, after six years of 
his cruel exile and agony had elapsed, was rendered 
famous as the tomb of the greatest character in the 
Pantheon of History. Docs not the virtue of tlie 
most powerful nation of antiquity, and the most 
powerful Christian nation of modern times, demon- 
strate that morality can exist without ChrislianUy I " 
Ancient Hindoos. — hi the Braminical books, as 
quoted, in the "Materials for Thinking," 1 find the 
following moral sentiments, which do honor to hu- 
manity ; they are only a few, liowever, of what 
mii^ht be adduced. Tell me not that there is no 
morality without the Bil)le, while such passages as 
these can be found in the writings of a people who 
know nothing of it. " iS'ever to hear patiently of 
evil, nor to spare that which is mischievous and 






M0R.VLITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



259 



wicked — utter no lies — practice no prevarication or 
hypocrisy — use no deceit or over-reaching in trade 
or dealing — never oppress the weak and humble, 
nor oiler any violence to your neighbor — keep your 
hands from pilfering and from theft, and in no way 
whatever injure a fellow creature." What a dilfer- 
cnt scene our Bible-loving, tract-distributing coun- 
try would present if these beautiful precepts were 
practiced ! — precepts given long before Christianity 
"had a habitation or a name," and which chalhuige 
a comparison with any of our " ins])ircd " morals. 

We will now notice a people who were unknown 
to Christians till so late a period as the 11th cen- 
tury — the American Indians. liven this unculti- 
vated race entertained views of morality of which 
"civilized" Christians might be proud. The reply 
of the famous Indian, Red Jacket, to the Christian 
Missionary, Mr. Cramp, is highly characteristic. — 
The priest tells the Indians that they were in dark- 
ness, and that there could be only one true religion, 
and it was his. The reply of tlie Indian alfords a 
memorable instance of the moral dignity and sim- 
plicity of that virtuous and unsophisticated ra(*e. It 
is given in Howitt's "History of Christianity and 
Colonization," p. 3U7 — 4Ul. Red Jacket eloquently 
observes : — 

" Brother, you say you want an answer to your 
talk before you leave this place. It is right you 
should have one, as you are at a great distance from 
liome, and we do not wish to detain you; but we 
will first look back a little, and tell you what our 
fathers have told us, and what we have heard from 
the white j)eople. 

" Brother, listen to what we say. There was a 
time when our forefathers owned this great island. 
Their seats extended from the rising to the setting 
sun. The Cireat Spirit had made it for the use of 
Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and 
other animals for food. He made the beaver and 



260 



MOR.\LITy WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



the bear, and their skins served us for clothing. He 
had scattered them over the country, and taught us 
how to take them. He had caused tlie eartli to j)ro- 
duce corn for bread. All this he had done for his 
red children because he loved them. If wc had any 
disputes about hunting-grounds, they were generally 
settled without the shedding of much blood; but an 
evil day came upon us: your foretathers crossed the 
great waters, and landed on this island. Tlieir num- 
btirs were small: they found friends, and not ene- 
mies; tliey told us they had tied from their own 
country for fear of wicked men, and came here to 
enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat. 
We took pity on them, granted their request, and 
they sat down among us. We gave them corn and 
meat, they gave us poison (spirituous liquors) m re- 
tnrn. The white people had now found out our 
country, tidings were carried back, and more came 
amongst us ; yet we did not fear them, we took them 
to be friends: they called us brothers, we helieved 
them and gave them a larger seat. At length their 
numbers had greatly increased, they wanted more 
laiidj — they wanted our country! Our eyes were 
opened, and our minds became uneasy. Wars took 
place ; Indians were hired to fight against Indians, 
and many of our people were destroyed. They also 
brought strong liquors among us ; it was strong and 
powerful, and has slain thousands. 

"Brother, our seats were once large, and yours 
were very small. You have now become a great 
people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread 
our blankets. You hove got our country, but are not 
satisfied ; — you want to force your religion upon us. 

"Brother, continue to listen. You say that you 
are sent to instruct us how to worsliip the (ireat 
Spirit agreeably to his mind, and if we do not take 
hold of the religion which you white people teach, 
we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you 
are right, and we are lost ; how do you know tins I 



\ ^ 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



261 



We understand that your religion is written in a 
book ; if it was intended for us as well as you, why 
has not the Great Spirit given it to us, and not only 
to us, why did he not give to our forefathers the 
knowledge of that book, with the means of under- 
standing it rightly ? We only know what you tell 
us about it ; how shall we know what to believe, 
being so often deceived by the white people ? 

" Brother, you say there is but one way to worship 
and serve the Great S})irit. If there is but one re- 
ligion, why do you white people differ so much about 
ii'l why not all agree, as you can jdl read the book? 

" Brother, we do not understand these things. We 
are told that your religion was given to your tore- 
fathers, and has been handed down I'rom father to 
son. W^e'also have a religion which was given to 
our forefathers, and has been handed down to us 
their children. We worship that way. It teaches 
us to be thankful for all the favors we receive ; to 
love each other, and to be united ; — wc never quarrel 
about religion. 

"Brother, the Great Spirit has made us all; but 
he has made a great dilferencc hetwcen his white 
and red children. He has given us a different com- 
plexion, and diiferent customs. To you he lias given 
the arts; to these he has not opened our eyes. We 
know these things to be true. Since he has made so 
great a difference between us in other things, why 
may we not conclude that he has given us a differein. 
religion according to our understanding 7 The Great 
Spirit does right : he knows what is best for his 
children : we are satisiied. 

" Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion, 
or take it from you ; we only want to enjoy our own. 

" Ih'other, you say you have not come to get our 
land or our money, but to enlighten our minds. I 
will now tell you that I have been at your meetings, 
and saw you collecting money from the meeting. 1 
cannot tell what this money was mtended for, but 



262 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



suppose it was yonr minister; and, if we shonld con- 
form to your way of tliinking, perhaps you may want 
some from us. 

" Brother, we are told, that you have been preach- 
ing to the white people in this place. These people 
are our neighbors; we are acquainted with them: 
we will wait a little while, and see what elfect 
your preaching has upon them. If we fmd it does 
them good, makes ihem honest and less disposed 
to cheat hidians, we will then consider again what 
you have said. 

•' Brother, you have now heard our answer to your 
talk; and this is all we have to say at present. As 
we are going to part, we will come and takcf you 
by the hand, and hope the (ireat Spirit will protect 
you on your journey, and return you safe to your 

friends." . 

" The Missionary, hastily rising from his seat, re- 
fused to shake hands with them, saying, ' there was 
no fellowship between the religion of (iod and the 
works of tlie Devil.' The Indians smiled and retired 
in a peaceful manner." 

O ! what a contrast between the Barl)arian and 
the Clu-istian! How noble the virtue of the one, 
how disgusting the bigotry of the other ! What a 
glorious triumph of morality over religion ! What 
an unanswerable proof that a people may be virtuous 
Avithout tlie I>iblc, and vicious with it ! 

Not only, however, can we find morality amongst 
people who were entirely ignorant of Christianity, 
but even amongst those who were ignorant of any 
religion — Atheists. 

D. H. Kolf, in a work entitled, " Voyages of the 
Dutch Brig of War, Donya, through the Southern 
and little known parts of the Moluccan Archipelago, 
and along the previously unknown Southern coast of 
New Guinea, performed during the years of 1825-- 
'26," informs that the inhabitants of the Arm Islands 
knew nothing of a God or a future state, and " yet," 



I ^ 



MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



263 



says he, " it *is not a little remarkable that the Ara- 
furas, no'twithstanding that they have no hope of 
rewards, or fear of punishment after death, live in 
brotherly peace among themselves and respect the 
rights of property in the fullest sense." Another 
extraordinary instance of a people utterly ignorant 
of all religion, and yet virtuous and hospitable, is 
mentioned in a work entitled, " Narrative of the 
loss of the ship Hercules, Captain Benjamin Stout, 
on the Caffraria Coast, the 18th of June, 179G, and 
subsequent travel through the southern deserts of 
Africa, and Colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, ad- 
dressed to the Honorable John Adams, President of 
the United States of America." After giving many 
highly interesting and amusing particulars of the 
anti-religion of this singular people which I have 
not time to read. Captain Stout proceeds to express 
his astonishment and delight on finding "the virtues 
of hospitality and humanity practiced by men termed 
savages by their oppressors, but who put civilized 
society to the blush by their conduct." Yes, our 
God-worshipping and soul-mongering nations would 
do well to imitate the simple virtues of a people 
who can afford to be moral without the pious stim- 
ulants of heaven and hell. How nobly and masterly 
Mr. Dunlap, in the defence previously quoted, com- 
bats the stupid assumption, that morality is insepa- 
rable from Christianity ! He proceeds : — ''I have 
just been told by an eminent clergyman of this city, 
who is now within the reach of mv voice, that some 
few pious Christians, whose zeal, 1 suppose, a little 
out-stripped their knowledge, hold that morality is 
exceedingly dangerous, as it induces the worker oi 
righteousness to place too great a reliance upon this 
support, and, therefore, brings his soul into greater 
peril of eternal perdition. The world has been told 
by Dr. Horsely, a proud liOrd in lawn of the House 
of Lords of the Imperial Parliament in Great Britain 
— that Unitarianism, being heresy, even the taoral 



R64 



MORALITY WITHOUT TH^: BIBLE. 



good of the Unitarians is sin. According to the doc- 
trine of such Cliristians. morahty and Christianity 
are things as far removed from each other as earth 
from heaven. If morahty and Christianity, how- 
ever, be one and the same, or tilings niscparahlc, 
how were societies formed, governments estahhshed, 
and nations raised to power and glory before Jesus 
Christ was born, and tlie ghxd tidings of his gospel 
proclaimed? Upon what principle was society rcgn- 
lated during the thousands of years which this globe 
rolled through tlie fields of space, in its appointed 
circuit around the glorious luminary, the centre of 
our system, before the revelation of Christianity was 
made/ Vv as there no morality in the days of Ho- 
mer's heroes, amongst whom were some of the most 
glorious characters ever described in any work of fact 
or imagination ? Was there no morality in those 
heroic ages^ or were the sages and chiefs of the llliad, 
the Odyssey, and the iKniad, ideal models of human 
excellence, the fanciful creations of the immortal bards 
of (Greece and Rome ? " 

Never was a statement more unfounded, or more 
gratuitous, than that all morality must come from 
the Hil)lc, and that we are weeds without it. Mo- 
rality alone emanates from a book, indeed, which 
details obscenities so revolting — immoralities so de- 
basing — crimes so monstrous, and butcheries so hor- 
rible ! What an absurdity! What a libel upon the 
character of him whose virtue rises above the dark 
records of priests and impostors ! But Bible or no 
Bii)lc, I would rather live one brief hour, though it 
were in perdition itself, with the spirit of a Thales, 
a Stxrates, a Plato, and an Upicurus, than through 
all eternity, with the corrupted remains of a Moses, 
a Joshua, a Samuel, or a David. With the one I 
should feel ennobled ; the other, degraded. The 
teach hig and practices of the former incite to the 
attainment of the wise, tlie good, and the beautiful, 
but the injunctions and doings of the latter instigate 



4. 






MORALITY WITHOUT THE BIBLE. 



265 



to all that is degraded, cruel, and vicious. The 
morality of those sages, who taught long before the 
Bible was known, or Christianity promulgated, was, 
indeed, ''pure and undefiled ; " but the morality of 
the Scriptures, what little there be, is contaminated 
by crimes and vices, superstitions, and persecutions 
at which humanity shudders, and which has hitherto 
converted Christendom into an arena of bigotry, ig- 
norance, cant, and intolerance. Morality, then, I 
reiterate, — morality, sound and spotless, existed before 
the Bible existed, and morality will triumph when 
that production is exploded, and the sooner its musty 
pages are closed forever, the sooner will mental lib- 
erty, moral excellence, and intellectual greatness per- 
vade the earth ! 



END. 



23 




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